出雲と出雲大社【Izumo and Izumo Taisha】

The greatest shrine in Japan is often said to be Ise Shrine. That shrine is not as old as the one in Izumo Taisha, however, and it seems like a case of one-upmanship. Izumo Taisha is credited with being the oldest shrine using Taisha architecture in Japan, and is over 1200 years old. It is located in the town of Taisha in Shimane Prefecture of the Sanin Area. The age of Taisha was not all spent as a Shinto shrine. During the age of Susanoo, it was a Shaman shrine as well, worshipping the mountain behind the shrine. From that viewpoint it is over 1500 years old, that we know of, and probably much older.


The shrine at Ise is rebuilt every 20 years for the purpose of purification of the shrine. In Izumo, the Taisha Shrine is rebuilt only when it needs it. This has happened 25 times since it was first built. The last reconstruction was done in 1744. When we in the Izumo no Kuni say that Taisha is the oldest example of Taisha architecture, we are bending the rules a bit. In fact, there are three shrines that are older than Taisha.


One is Kumano Shrine–over 1300 years old–at one time, more popular than Taisha. Another is Yaegaki Shrine–over 1300 years old. Susanoo took his bride here after his fight with the terrible Yamata no Orochi! The third is Kamosu Shrine–over 1600 years old–which is dedicated to Izanami, the first goddess of Japan. All those shrines are of Taisha architecture!


Of course, Izumo Taisha is dedicated to the great god, Okuninushi no Mikoto. He was the father of Izumo no Kuni, which I believe plays such a vital role in the history of Japan. He got Taisha Shrine as payment for joining Yamato, and giving the Emperor the power to con- solidate his authority over the people. That directly led to the Taika Reform of 645.


Izumo Taisha does have a claim to fame! It was the highest building in Japan at one time. In the beginning, as a condition for joining Yamato, Okuninushi demanded that it be built high- er than the High Bridge of Heaven! Therefore, it was built 96 meters high! In the Middle Ages, it was 48 meters high, but to-day it is only 24 meters high. Still, it is most impressive. It must have been absolutely astounding when it was new! Even at its reduced height, it is visited by around three million people annually. In a small, out-of-the-way place like the town of Taisha, this is really incredible. There must be something behind its impressive position in Japan!


The people truly and sincerely believe in it. The Great Shrine of Izumo Taisha is awesome! Izumo City has a population of about 80,000 people, being the second largest in Shimane Prefecture. It has the Tachikue Gorge, as a sightseeing point. This gorge has many images of Buddha. In addition to that, there is the Izumo Cultural Heritage Museum, and many other sites for visitors to see. Probably, the most important of these is the Izumo Dome, the highest wooden building in Japan. It was recently finished, and is used for many events in the life of the city of Izumo.


We must say that the Sanin Area is the heart of culture and history in Japan, with Matsue at the center and Izumo as second in line of importance. To see Japan, you must see the Sanin Area with its famous archeological sites, magnificent scenery and historical legends. At the same time, you can get acquainted with its wonderful people. This would be a trip you would never forget! Come to the Home of the Gods. In October, all the gods in Japan visit Taisha, and the rest of the country is considered “godless.” Come here!


adsense 関連コンテンツ