このウェブサイトはご利用の端末での閲覧に対応していません。
This website does not support your device.

Munakata Taisha Hetsugū~History & Deities

Article writtenFebruary 2nd, 2020
A memorandum of facts about shrines visited. Munakata Taisha is the head shrine of more than 6000 Munakata shrines and Itsukushima shrines around Japan located in Munakata city, Fukuoka prefecture. The history of Munakata Taisha Hetsugū and the enshrined deities.
Please check official information before visiting. Information here may be out of date.
Please check official information before visiting. Information here may be out of date.

History

Munakata Taisha

The establishment of Munakata Taisha is prehistoric and unclear, but it is said that in the 4th century, at Okinoshima, which is located in the key point between Japan and the continent, ritual ceremonies were held to pray for a safe navigation and successful trade. In this time ritual ceremonies were held outside and in the 7th century a similar ceremonies were began to be held at Mitake-san in Ōshima island and in Tashima on mainland.

In the Kojiki, composed in the early 8th century, and the Nihon-Shoki it is documented that the Munakata clan is worshipping the three Munakata goddesses in 3 shrines, Hetsugū, Nakatsugū and Okitsugū and it can be seen that the elemental worship turned into a worship of personified deities. In folklore, the shrine originates Japanese mythology. In the ukei between Amaterasu-ōmikami and Susanō-no-mikoto, when Amaterasu-ōmikami chewed Susanō-no-mikoto's sword and breathes out, the three sisters Tagorihime-no-kami, Tagitsuhime-no-kami and Ichikishimahime-no-kami gave birth from her breath. Under the oracle of Amaterasu-ōmikami, the three goddesses descended to Munakata, looking out on the Genkai sea, and were enshrined in Munakata Taisha. Munakata Taisha is the oldest shrine which the location is documented clearly in the Kojiki and the Nihon-Shoki.

From ancient times Munakata Taisha was worshipped as a local deity, but after Empress Jingū had miraculous efficacies praying for safe navigation during Sankan-Seibatsu, the imperial coart considered Munakata Taisha as an important shrine and worshipped it as a guardian of navigation. under the Ritsuryō system, a large area was designated as a Shingun, an area that was established as a holy precinct, and as the Munakata clan served as priesthood it also had administrative power over the area.

In the Sengoku period the Munakata clan, as it turned into a samurai family, was mobilized in battle and Munakata Taisha was often a target of attack. The Munakata clan declined and Munakata Taisha was destroyed repeatedly, but every time it was restored by efforts by the Imperial court or samurai families. Kobayakawa Takakage, the feudal lord of Chikuzen Province, and the Kuroda family, the head of Fukuoka domain, are told to have rebuilt the shrine.

It is known that, after the Second World War, the ruined shrine was restored by the efforts of Idemitsu Sazō, the founder of the petroleum company Idemitsu Kōsan.

In 2017, Munakata Taisha was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a part of "Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region".

Hetsugū

It is not clear when the Hetsugū, enshrining Ichikishimahime-no-kami, was built. But it is said that in the 7th century, ritual ceremonies similar in Okinoshima became to be held at the Takamiya-saijō behind Hetsugū, and in the 12th century, a shrine was built at the foot of the hill where Takamiya-saijō is.

From the facts that Tsurikawa river, that flows beside the Hetsugū, used to be a gulf, and also, Hetsugū is described with the kanji "海濱", that means "beach", in the Nihon-Shoki, it is believed that the Hetsugū used to be by the sea shore.

Enshrined deities

Munakata Taisha

In the ukei of Amaterasu-ōmikami and Susanō-no-mikoto, when Amaterasu-ōmikami chewed Susanō-no-mikoto's sword and breathed out, the three Munakata goddesses were born from her breath. The three goddesses descended to Munakata, under Amaterasu-ōmikami's oracle.

These are the three Munakata Taisha shrines and their enshrined deities.

Hetsugū
Ichikishimahime-no-kami (市杵島姫神)
Nakatsugū
Tagitsuhime-no-kami (湍津姫神)
Okitsugū
Tagorihime-no-kami (田心姫神)

Hetsugū

The main enshrined deity of Hetsugū is Ichikishimahime-no-kami, one of the three Munakata goddesses.

In Tei-ni-gū and Tei-san-gū, the divided spirits of Tagitsuhime-no-kami and Tagorihime-no-kami are enshrined. So it is possible to worship all three Munakata goddesses in Hetsugū.

Divine favor

Since Munakata Taisha has been located in the key point of traffic between Kyūshū and the continent, the three Munakata goddesses were worshipped to provide protection for a Safe navigation. In modern times they are also believed to have powers for Traffic safety for motor traffic as well as marine traffic.

Also, since the three Munakata goddesses descended under the oracle to protect the Imperial family, the three goddesses are believed to bring national prosperity.

Auxiliary shrines

Behind the honden, there are 2 shrines dedicated for the divided spirits of the enshrined dieties of Nakatsugū and Okitsugū.

Tei-ni-gū (第二宮)
Deity: Tagorihime-no-kami
Tei-san-gū (第三宮)
Deity: Tagitsuhime-no-kami
Tei-ni-gū
Tei-san-gū

In ancient times, under the Ritsuryō system shrines were permitted to own only the land designated as a Shingun, an area that was established as a holy precinct. Munakata Taisha was one of the 7 major shrines permitted to have a Shingun. 121 deities from shrines around the Shingun had been enshrined here as auxiliary shrines. Some shrines still exists where they originally were, but some are lost.

119 masshas are enshrined in 21 shrines surrounding the honden.

Ōmiwa shrine (大神神社)
Deity: Ōmiwa-myōjin
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Kifune shrine (貴船神社)
Deity: Takamikami-no-kami
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Tsukake shrine (津加計志神社)
Deity: Atakatasu-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Shōsanmi shrine (正三位神社)
Deity: Shikaumi-no-ōkami
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Waka shrine (和加神社)
Deity: Wakahirume-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Kodaishi shrine (孔大寺神社)
Deity: Mikumari-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Namiori shrine (浪折神社)
Deity: Kamunaobi-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Tsukura shrine (国連神社)
Deity: Utsushikunitama-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Miyata Wakamiya shrine (宮田若宮神社)
Deity: Futodama-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Ubu shrine (宇生神社)
Deity: Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Auxiliary shrines on the left side of the honden
Auxiliary shrines behind the honden
Mandokoro shrine (政所神社)
Deity: Susanō-no-mikoto
Enshrines 8 other shrines together.
Hyakudai shrine (百大神社)
Deity: Sumiyoshi-ōkami-no-aramitama
Futahashira shrine (二柱神社)
Deity: Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto
Fujimiya shrine (藤宮神社)
Deity: Fujiwara no Kamatari
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Inabake shrine (稲庭上神社)
Deity: Ukanomitama-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Myōken shrine (妙見神社)
Deity: Sukunabikona-no-mikoto
Enshrines 5 other shrines together.
Chitokushimonofu shrine (千得下符神社)
Deity: Takuhatachijihime-no-mikoto
Enshrines 6 other shrines together.
Gion shrine (祇園神社)
Deity: Susanō-no-mikoto
Enshrines 6 other shrines together.
Orihata shrine (織幡神社)
Deity: Takeuchi-no-ōkami
Enshrines 6 other shrines together.
Makiguchi shrine (牧口神社)
Deity: Mikeirinu-no-mikoto
Enshrines 6 other shrines together.
Mikagimochi shrine (御鑰持神社)
Deity: Yamayohime-no-mikoto
Enshrines 6 other shrines together.
Auxiliary shrines behind the honden
Auxiliary shrines on the right side of the honden

These 2 auxiliary shrines are outside the Mikaki.

Matsuo shrine (松尾神社)
Deity: Ōyamakui-no-mikoto, Wakayamakui-no-mikoto and Ichikishimahime-no-kami
Ebisu shrine (蛭子神社)
Deity: Ebisu
Matsuo shrine
Hiruko shrine

Some other auxiliary shrines are outside the shrine.

Ōji shrine (王子神社)
Deity: Susanō-no-mikoto
Location: 623 Konomi, Munakata city
Hamamiya shrine (浜宮社)
Deity: Unknown
Location: 1270 Kōnominato, Munakata city

Events

These are some annual events.

Shinnen-sai
January 1st and 3rd
Setsubun-sai
February 3rd
Shunki-taisai (Spring festival)
April 1st and 2nd
Nagoshi-no-ōharae-shiki and Nagoshi-sai
July 31st
Shūki-taisai (Autumn festival)
September 30th to October 3rd
Toshikoshi-no-ōharae-shiki and Joya-sai
December 31st
Top
Home
Share
Share
Facebook
Tweet
Google+
Pocket