“IZUMO” is a city located in the east of SHIMANE prefecture.
The size of the city is not so big, but this region is indispensable in the Japanese ancient history.
In “KOJIKI”, the oldest chronicles written in the Japanese islands, the topics related to IZUMO are said to be occupying 1/3 of the entire book.
So, from this time and over next several times, let’s discover this region of Japanese myth together!
When it comes to IZUMO, the most popular place is the “IZUMO-TAISHA” (IZUMO Grand Shrine).
The Shinto deity enshrined in the IZUMO-TAISHA is “ŌKUNINUSHI-NO-MIKOTO” who once appeared in the past article.
In the Japanese mythical age, he was governing this region.
One day, the Sun Goddess “AMATERASU-ŌMIKAMI” asks him to give up this region because her grandson “TENSON-NO-KAMI” will be governing this region instead of him from now on.
To ŌKUNINUSHI who doesn’t yield to her repeated pressure, AMATERASU finally dispatches powerful deities “TAKEMIKAZUCHI” and “AMANOTORIFUNE”.
Then ŌKUNINUSHI answers that he will make decision after listening the opinions of his two sons “KOTOSHIRONUSHI” and “TAKEMINAKATA”.
While KOTOSHIRONUSHI easily accepts it, TAKEMINAKATA says “Let us see which of us is the strongest”.
However he fails and is transferred to distant “SUWA” area (current NAGANO prefecture).
Being defeated, ŌKUNINUSHI unwillingly makes decision to leave the IZUMO region under the condition that TENSON-NO-KAMI builds a palace which is high enough to reach to the heaven for ŌKUNINUSHI to be able to look over people from there.
Accepting his wish, TENSON-NO-KAMI built a huge building and ŌKUNINUSHI resides there, which is said to be the IZUMO-TAISHA.
The accuracy of this legend had been a long time mystery for experts, however in 2001, an excavation proved that the original IZUMO-TAISHA said to be built by the TENSON-NO-KAMI was actually a giant wooden shrine which was about 50M in hight.
How was it possible to build such a huge shrine at the ancient times without modern technology?
The discovery of a pillar called “UZUBASHIRA” used for the building foundation in the excavation was reportedly the evidence.
The pillar consists of 3 giant cider trees combined each other to make the total diameter of 3M. The hole dug for the pillar is 6M in diameter where huge stones are piled up quite densely, the unprecedented underground structure for the foundation was also unveiled.
Being enshrined in IZUMO-TAISHA, today, ŌKUNINUSHI is welcoming visitors in this mythical region.
You cannot help but feel his dignity and profundity looking at the huge straw festoon of IZUMO-TAISHA.
Here goes some photos that I took when I visited last year which was the year of SENGU (Renovation after 60 years)