Sono Kara Matsuri


Sono Kara Matsuri

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-Spring
***** Category: Observance


Sono Kara Matsuri 園韓神祭 (そのからかみまつり)
Sonokara Futakami no Matsuri

Sonokami Matsuri 園神祭(そのかみまつり)
Karakami Matsuri 韓神祭(からかみまつり)

The date is not quite clear, some sources quote the
upper day of the ox in February (and again in November before the Niiname Sai festival 新嘗祭(にいなめさい)).
The Day of the Spring Festival in February.


Two shrine priests 神部二人 the imperial gardens make a fire (niwabi 庭火) and purify the ground with special rites and plant a sakaki branch. A divine horse is paraded in the grounds and later kagura dance and music is performed.
"Food for the Gods" 神饌(しんせん shinsen) are offered on the altar.
. . . CLICK here for Photos of shinsen !

Sono no kami
Oomono nushi no kami おおものぬし‐の‐かみ【大物主神】
Ookuninushi no mikoto 大国主命(おおくにぬしのみこと)
Saki mitama 幸魂(さきみたま)
Kushi Mitama 奇魂(くしみたま)
(according to Nihon Shoki日本書紀)。

Kara no kami  韓神 / 漢神 「からのかみ」
Oonamuchi no kami おおなむち‐の‐かみ【大己貴神/大穴牟遅神】
Ookuninushi no mikoto 大国主命(おおくにぬしのみこと)
Sukuna hikona no kami 少彦名命 スクナヒコネ、スクナヒコ、スクナミカミ
Kara no kami siginfies that he came from Korea. He was a protector deity of the Imperial ground.
There are many legends around this deity from Korea, a 渡来神.
("the Deity of Kara"
He appears in the "Chronicle" under the name of I-so-takeru 五十猛神(いそたける)("Fifty-fold-Valiant"), of whom it is related that he was taken over to Korea by his father Susa-no-oo (the "Impetuous-Male"
The Kojiki,).

offerings of horses and bulls 牛馬の犠牲
It was customary to offer horses or bulls to this god during rain rituals (Karakami shinkoo 韓神信仰) since the 5th century. The practise to offer "sacred horses" seems to have come from Korea. Near some shrines in his honor there have been finds of bones from horses and bulls. Emperor Kanmu Tenno offered bulls 桓武天皇の牛殺し. ushi no ikenie 牛の生贄.
(related to the belief from "white mountain" 白山信仰.)

This SonoKara festival in the honor of the two gods has been held in Kyoto before it became the capital, to ward off epidemics and disease.

First it is performed in the southern shrine for Sonokami 南の園神社(そのかみのやしろ), then in the northern shrine for Karakami 北の韓神社(からかみのやしろ).

But this ritual has not been performed since the Kamakura period.

source : 日本大百科全書

Shrine Karakami Shiragi Jinja Okayama
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Sonokarakami no yashiro 園韓神社(そのからかみのやしろ)Shrine
in the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto

The two shrines for SONO and KAMI
Today the shrine Nue Jinja 鵺神社 is in their place.
Nue Daimyoojinja 鵺大明神社
In the precincts is the famous pond Nue-Ike 鵺池, which has dried out.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
NUE is written with the characters for night and bird.

Once at night at the end of the Heian period, a strange wailing voice like that of a golden mountain thrush (toratsugumi とらつぐみ【虎鶇】) was heared in the precincts. The emperor, who heared this voice, became ill. To cure him, Minamoto no Yorimasa みなもとのよりまさ【源頼政】 shot an arrow with the tail feathers of a pheasant into the four corners of the night. The beast was hit and fell down, to the place where now we have Shrine Nue.

NUE is a beast with the head of a monkey, breast of a badger, scales like a dragon, tail of a serpent and feet like a tiger

woodblock by Kuniyoshi 国芳

. Yorimasa Minamoto killed a monster Nue .
- - - - - More legends about the NUE.


[Ōnamuchi no kami] (Kojiki)
おおなむち‐の‐かみ 【大己貴神/大穴牟遅神】

Usually considered an alternate name for the kami Ōkuninushi, although works like Izumo fudoki and Izumo no kuni no miyatsuko kan'yogoto describe Ōnamuchi as a "land-forming kami." As a result, it appears likely that Ōnamuchi was originally an indigenous land-creating kami of the Izumo region which was later adapted to the mythology of Kojiki and Nihongi.

The main text of Nihongi is alone in describing Ōnamuchi as the child of Susanoo, while Kojiki and an "alternate writing" transmitted by Nihongi state that he was Susanoo's sixth-generation descendant.
Descriptions of Ōnamuchi in the fudoki represent him as having the strong characteristics of an agricultural deity. Also, another "alternate writing" in Nihongi relates that at the time of the "transfer of the land" (kuniyuzuri) preceding the Descent of the Heavenly Grandchild (tenson kōrin), the deity Takamimusuhi vowed to construct a palace for Ōnamuchi, and appointed Amenohohi to carry out rites in his honor. As a result, the Izumo kokusō (local governors of Izumo) were considered descendants of Amenohohi.

source : Kokugakuin University. Kadoya Atsushi

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


ike karete nue-ike no hi ga tachimashita

CLICK for more photos

the pond dried out -
in the Nue-pond now
a stone memorial

source : 蛙の、ほろ酔い俳句散歩
Tr. Gabi Greve


old legends
coming to life -
summer chill

Gabi Greve, Summer 2009

Summer is a time to tell ghost stories in Japan to feel a chill ...

Related words

***** Cow, Oxen (ushi) Japan

***** . The Hata Clan 秦氏 Hata Uji .
and the Korean and Christian connection



anonymous said...

I'm working on very short section of a chapter on "Kara kami"
variously written 韓神,漢神. I know that this deity (or class of deities) is referred to in the Kojiki, Shoku Nihongi, the
Nihonryoiki, and a prohibition describing sacrificing oxen to it is recorded in the Ruiju Sandai kyaku and elsewhere.

Jason Ānanda Josephson

anonymous said...




 越前国に対しては、延暦十年(791)と延暦二十年(801)の二回、殺牛祭の禁令が出されている。つまりそれだけ“抵抗”が強かった為に、二回も禁令を出さなければならなかったと思っていい。殺牛儀礼と山岳信仰の間に直接的な因果関係は無さそうであるが、どちらも同一地域(=越前国)の住民に受け入れられていたこと自体は興味深い。ちなみに、泰澄が白山を開山したのは養老元年(717) とされるので、殺牛祭禁令が出される半世紀以上も前のことである。




Unknown said...