Isonokami Shrine


Isonokami Shrine (Isonokami Jingu) Festivals

***** Location: Nara
***** Season: Various
***** Category: Observance


Isonokami Shrine 石上神宮, Isonokami-jinguu,
also 石上布都御魂神社 Isonokami-futsu-no-mitama-jinja,
布留大明神 Furu-ōmyojin, etc

is a Shinto shrine located in the hills of Tenri in Nara prefecture, Japan.
It is one of the oldest extant Shinto shrines in Japan and has housed several significant artifacts.

Isonokami shrine was highly regarded in the ancient era, and frequented by many members of the imperial family. It played a pivotal role in Japan's early history, especially during the 3rd to 5th centuries.

The shrine is at the northern end of the Yamanobe no michi, the oldest road in Japan.

... It is unknown which kami was initially worshipped at Isonokami shrine.

Isonokami Shrine was supposedly built on the 7th year of Sujin's reign, or the year 4 AD. However, there is little record of Sujin's existence or identity, and therefore the claim is deemed legendary. The construction of a structure that can be identified as a Shinto shrine in the Isonokami area probably dates two or three centuries later. Despite this, it is not unlikely that the Isonokami area was considered a sacred site during that time, as archeological digs have found many ritual objects, and Isonokami worship was already firmly established when they were adopted by the Yamato leaders in the 4th century.

... Isonokami shrine is surrounded by Japanese cedar (sugi), and is known for its quiet solemnity. A waka poem from the Man'yōshū anthology mentions Isonokami shrine, surrounded by holy cedar trees.

... The main enshrined dedication is to Futsu-no-mitama, the kami of a legendary sword (futsu-no-mitama-no-tsurugi) that was purportedly used by Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor of Japan. However, the supposed sword itself is not in Isonokami shrine, but in Kashima Shrine, Ibaraki.

... The Nanatsusaya-no-Tachi 七支刀 , a seven-branched sword, is housed in Isonokami shrine.

... The Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi 草薙剣 , a legendary sword, is also said to be kept at Isonokami shrine. It is one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. According to the Kojiki, the sword was used by the god Susanoo to slay the Yamata-no-Orochi, a giant serpent with eight heads and eight tails. Unfortunately, priests at the shrine will not allow anyone to see or inspect the sword.

Tokusa no Kandakara 十種神宝(とくさのかんだから)
Ten treasures brought by Amenohiboko are thought to be housed in Isonokami shrine. According to the Nihon Shoki, Amenohiboko was a prince from Korea who settled in Japan. The ten treasures he brought are known as the Tokusa-no-Kandakara, and they are as follows:

Okitsu-kagami (A mirror)
Hetsu-kagami (A mirror)
Yatsuka-no-tsurugi (A sword)
Iku-tama (A jewel)
Makarukaheshi-tama (A jewel)
Taru-tama (A jewel)
Chikaheshi-no-tama (A jewel)
Orochi-no-hire (A type of long scarf worn by women)
Hachi-no-hire (A type of long scarf worn by women)
Kusagusa-no-mono-no-hire (A type of long scarf worn by women)

The 10 Treasures and
. Tamaki Jinja 玉置神社 .


The Seven-Branched Sword:
The Mystical Ceremonial Sword of Japan

The Seven-Branched Sword is so called because of the three branch-like protrusions extending on each side of the sword’s main body. Together with the tip of the central blade, they make up seven ‘branches’. This sword measures at 74.9 cm (2.5 feet) in length, and is made of iron. As the ‘branches’ appear to be quite delicate, and their functionality in melee combat doubtful, it is unlikely that the Seven-Branched Sword was used as a military weapon. Instead, it probably had a ceremonial function. This may be supported by the inscription, which is inlaid with gold, on the central blade.

A translation of the inscription is as follows,

First Side: “On May 16th, the 4th year of Tae-hwa [or on April 16th, the 4th year of T’ai-ho], the day of Byeong-O at noon, this seven-branched sword was manufactured with hundred-times-wrought iron. As this sword has a magical power to rout the enemy, it is sent [bestowed] to the king of a vassal state. Manufactured by xxxx.”

Second Side: “Never has there been such a sword. Thinking of longevity, the king of Baekje [or the Crown Prince of Baekje who owes his life to the august King] had this sword made for the king of Wa [or the king of vassal state].
Hope that it be transmitted and shown to posterity (傳示後世).”
- See more at:
- source : ancient-origins.net -


Annual celebrations

歳旦祭 Japanese New Year (January 1)

元始祭 Genji-sai (January 3)

古神符焼納祭 Furufudatakiage-sai (January 15)

玉の緒祭 Tama-no-o-sai (Night before Setsubun)
節分祭 Setsubun

祈年祭 Kinen-sai (February 19) としごいのまつり
With prayers for a good harvest of the five grains.

献燈講講社大祭 Kentōkōkōsha-ōmatsuri
(First Sunday of each month)

春季大祭 Shunki-ōmatsuri (April 15) great spring festival

長寿講社春季大祭 Chōjukōsha-shunki-ōmatsuri (May 3)

神剣渡御祭(でんでん祭) Denden Festival
(June 30)

大祓式 Ōharae-shiki (June 30 and December 31)
Great purification rituals in June and December

崇敬会大祭 Sūkei-kai-ōmatsuri
(First Sunday of each month)

榜示浚神事 Boujisarae-shinji (October 1)

例祭(ふるまつり)Furumatsuri (October 15)

長寿講社秋季大祭 Chōjukōsha-shūki-ōmatsuri (November 3)

鎮魂祭 Chinkon-sai (November 22)

新嘗祭 Niiname-no-matsuri (November 23)
Harvest thanksgiving

お火焚祭 Ohitaki-sai (December 8)
Great Fire Festival

天長祭 The Emperor's Birthday (December 23)

神庫祭 Hokura-matsuri (December 31)

除夜祭 New Year's Eve (December 31)

月次祭 Tsukinami-no-matsuri
(Every 1st and 15th day of the month)

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

In a compound of this shrine, is the small shrine

Furu no Miya 布留の宮

Other Japanese versions are


June 30
Denden Matsuri でんでん祭り


Tokusanokamudakara / Tokusa no kamu dakara

Also read jusshu jinpō.
According to the "original record of the heavenly grandchild" (Tenson hongi) in Sendai kuji hongi, these were the "ten kinds of heavenly-emblem sacred treasures" (amatsushirushi mizutakara tokusa) bestowed by the "heavenly ancestor" (amatsu mioya) on Nigihayahi no mikoto, ancestral tutelary (sojin) of the Mononobe clan, at the time of his descent from the Plain of High Heaven (Takamanohara).

  The ten treasures or regalia consisted of
the Okitsukagami ("Mirror of the Deep"),
the Hetsukagami ("Mirror of the Shore"),
the Yatsukatsurugi ("Sword Eight-Hands Long"),

the Ikutama ("Jewel of Life"),
the Makaru kaeshi no tama ("Jewel of Resuscitation"),
the Tarutama ("Jewel of Plenty"),
the Chikaeshi no tama ("Jewel of Turning Back on the Road"),

the Orochi no hire ("Snake[-repelling] Scarf"),
the Hachi no hire ("Bee[-repelling] Scarf"), and
the Kusagusa no mono no hire ("Scarf [to ward off] Various Things").

These ten are subdivided into the four classes of swords, mirrors, jewels, and scarves.
The inclusion of scarves (hire) is significant; thought to have been an article of ancient dress, hire were believed to have magical power. According to Ryō no shūge, spirit pacification ceremonies (chinkonsai) were performed by waving these scarves. The other treasures had similar characteristics.

In the aforementioned Tenson hongi portion of the Sendai kuji hongi, the heavenly ancestor instructs that in the event of difficulty, illness, or other need to dispel evil, one should chant the names of the ten regalia while flourishing the objects, and the desired effect will immediately appear in response to one's wish. In short, the regalia were viewed as possessing magical properties, and when used in ritual had the nature of implements of exorcism or purification.
source : Okada Yoshiyuki, 2005, Kokugakuin


Worldwide use

Things found on the way

sacred cedar tree of Furu, Isonokami 布留の神杉
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Furu no Miya toorinukeyuku miume kago

shrine Furu no Miya -
a basket with ripe plums
passes along

Matsui Toshi 松井トシ
source : NHK Haiku

Related words

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Gabi Greve said...

hokora, hokura, shi 祠 (叢祠 神庫) small shrine


Gabi Greve said...

Yamanobe no michi 山辺の道 / 山辺道
One of the old Yamato Kaido roads.

Through the Nara plain to 三輪山 Mount Miwasan and then 春日山 Kasugayama.
From Nara to Sakurai, and then on to Ise.
The Yamanobe-no-Michi trail

Gabi Greve said...

Ishigami 石神 Stone Deity