After spending a beautiful breezy morning at the Hinomisaki lighthouse, we walked down to the Hinomisaki Shrine, which is just about 15 minutes away. It was pretty easy following the information boards.
Hinomisaki Shrine was built in honor of two deities with a prominent presence in Japanese mythology: Amaterasu, the goddess of the Sun, and Susanoo, the god of storms and the sea. The temple is known to bring luck in business prosperity & traffic safety.
The weather had greatly improved and the dark grey clouds had scattered away. Encircled by a grove of old pine trees, the vermillion-lacquered Hinomisaki Shrine was built in honor of two sibling deities, Amaterasu, and her younger brother Susano. The Upper Shrine (Kami-nomiya), dedicated to the deity Susano, and the Sunset Shrine (Hishizumi-nomiya), dedicated to the deity Amaterasu.
At the entrance of the shrine grounds a white stone Torii welcomes you.
As you pass the Torii, you can find a large embossed carving on the side of the path. It depicts the Me-kari shinji, a religious rite of seaweed (wakame) harvesting. The mekari rite is performed on the fifth day of the first month of the lunar calendar at Hinomisaki Shrine. No wakame is cut, but the fishermen offer other harvests which are presented to the gods with the food offerings. Wakame cannot be harvested until this rite is completed.
What Shimane prefecture lacks in size and population, it makes up for in scenery and ancient mythology. Izumo-taisha, in the middle of the prefecture, is said to be Japan’s oldest Shinto shrine, where stories that delve into the creation of the Japanese race have been passed down over centuries.
An ancient Shinto shrine standing on Cape Hinomi in Taisha Town, Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture whose name is recorded as the “Misa Gisha” in the ancient text of the “Izumo no Kuni Fudoki.” “Hinomisaki Shrine” is in fact the collective term for two shrines—the Hishizumi no Miya, dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-omikami; and the Kami no Miya, dedicated to the god Susanoo-no-mikoto.
It is related to the famous Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture and is painted a brilliant vermillion color, making for a gorgeous contrast against the piercing blue of the sea and sky. At the time it was built, the area was a prosperous seaport, and the local lord commissioned the shrine to stand guard over the coast and protect the area’s trade.
Nishengu Shrine Gate
The vermilion-lacquered shrine pavilions, built under the orders of Iemitsu Tokugawa (1604-1651), were based on Gongen-zukuri, a traditional shrine architectural style.
Nishengu Shrine Gate Inside
While the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie is known to be the guardian of the daytime, while Hinomisaki Shrine is said to be the guardian of the evening.
The vermilion-lacquered shrine pavilions, built under the orders of Iemitsu Tokugawa, were based on Gongen-zukuri, a traditional shrine architectural style. Being a valuable architectural work of the early Edo Period, the shrine is designated as a nationally important cultural property.
There is one engraving which consists of three circles. They may look like simple geometric shapes, but actually they represent the sun goddess Amaterasu, the moon god Tsukuyomi, and the god Susanoo, who is the god of the sea and younger brother to the sun goddess.
Because the shrine was intentionally built to face the west in the direction of the setting sun, Hinomisaki Shrine has been observed as the protector of the night once the day sets in Japan.
You can also find a depiction of the Three Wise Monkeys, which originated in Japan and have become a familiar motif in cultures the world over.
Every August 7th, a special shrine sunset festival is held. The festival is open to all visitors.
Thanks for reading!
8:30a.m. – 4:30p.m.