Atago Shrines

. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .

Atago Shrines in Japan

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


Mount Atago Yama 愛宕山 / 阿多古 is a mountain of about 920 meters in the North-West of Kyoto. It is the location of a shrine and temple in this name.
Atago shrine in Kyoto is the most important one.

There are various mountains, shrines and temples of this name in other parts of Japan, many in Western Japan.

The Atago shrine in Itami, Hyogo, is especially related to Haiku.

Atago Gongen (愛宕権現) is a Japanese kami believed to be the local avatar (Gongen) of Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo Bosatsu.
The cult originated in Shugendō practices on Mount Atago in Kyoto, and Atago Gongen is worshiped as a protector against fire.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Jizoo Gongen 地蔵権現 Jizo Gongen .
from Okayama


. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .


Atago Jinja 愛宕神社  Atago shrines

This one is a Shinto shrine on Mount Atago, Kameoka, to the northwest of Kyoto.
Enshrined is Atago Gongen who protects Kyoto from fire.
Shugendō practices and a place for worship are known from the eighth century.The late-Kamakura period Honden has been designated an Important Cultural Property.

Atago Jinja is the head of nine hundred Atago shrines throughout Japan.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

The mountain is the first to receive the morning sun in Kyoto.


As a shrine dedicated to the deity of fire,
they sell amulets for fire prevention and protection:

hi no yoojin 火迺要慎 "beware of fire"

These amulets are placed in the kitchen and can be found in most homes and kitchens in Kyoto.

The white wild boar 白猪 (shirai, shira-i) is a messenger of the fire deity.
It is celebrated on the forth day of the second month.

More photos and amulets on the Japanese HP of the shrine:
source : kyoto-atago.jp


Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀

In the year 1582 in May, shortly before his coup against Oda Nobunaga, his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀 spent some time at this shrine. He was with a group composing renku, linked verse. The first poem was by Mitsuhide, the second one by a priest from temple Itokuin, Gyooyuu Hooin 行祐法印, the third by the master renku poet Satomura Jooha 里村紹巴 (1525 - 1602).
There were altogether 9 people, composing 100 verse, called the
100 verses from Atago 愛宕百韻 Atago Hyakuin.
The paper with all the verses was offered to the deities in respect.

Here is the famous first poem by Mitsuhide

toki wa ima ame ga shitashiru satsuki kana

the time is now
rain falls now
in the fifth lunar month

(This can be read as a pun:
土岐は今 天が下治る 皐月かな
Toki is the name of the family of Mitsuhide. The meaning could be
"Toki shall now rule the realm under the sky."

Reference : kyoto-atago.jp akechi

. badarai no mitsuhide 馬盥の光秀 .
a famous Kabuki play
- - - badarai, umadarai 馬盥 basin for washing a horse

More about the coup of Mitsuhide at Honnoji
. Wikipedia .


In temple Saikyo-ji 西教寺, there are many tombstones for Akechi Clan people and a monument of a haiku of Matsuo Basho. When Basho stayed in the house of his desciple Yûgen, Basho was well taken care of by Yûgen and by his wife, although Yûgen was very poor and it was very diffucult for him to afford to entertain Basho with descent foods and sake.
Basho recalled the episode of the wife of Akechi Mitsuhide, who sold her hair to buy foods to host a Renga (poetry) party, when they were very poor and were at a loss to entertain people decently with foods.
In gratitude to the kindness of Yûgen's wife, Basho sent the following haiku poem to Yûgen.

月さびよ 明智が妻の咄せむ
tsuki sabiyo Akechi ga tsuma no hanashi sen

Be somber, Moon,
as I will tell you the story
of Akechi's wife

Akechi Mitsuhide ( 1528-1582 ) was a powerful warlord and had a splendid castle that stood in Sakamoto at the foot of Mr. Hiei on the coast of Lake Biwa-ko. He was, however, very poor when he was young.

He attacked his master Oda Nobunaga at the Honnô-ji Temple in 1582, and virtually killed him. He was attacked in return by Hideyoshi. Defeated, and in his way to come back to his, he was killed.

His glorious career ended sadly. The story of Aklechi and his wife in the end was sad and Basho asked the moon to be somber and not be joyfull for the sad story.
source : Sasaki

moon, be lonely -
I want to tell of
Akechi's wife

Tr. Barnhill

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


愛宕神社 Atago shrine in Tokyo
東京都港区愛宕 1-5-3 / Minato ward, Shiba, Atago

It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 to prevent fires in the city. The shrine is on a small mountain of only 26 meters hight, but it could overlook most of the new Edo city and thus help prevent fires.
The very steep stairs leading to the shrine are also famous, as they represent success in life.
According to legend,
a young samurai, 曲垣平九郎 Magaki Heikuro, dared to ride his horse up the stairs to deliver plum blossoms to the shogun Iemitsu. It took his horse only one minute to get up, but 45 minutes to get down, and the horse was totally exhausted afterwards. The samurai got a great reward and was promoted to a high rank.
. shusse no ishidan 出世の石段 staircase to a good career .

The main deity is
Homusubi no mikoto 火産霊命 / カグツチ / 軻遇突智 Kagutsuchi Deity of Fire
. . . and
Mizuhanome no mikoto 罔象女命(水の神) Deity of Water
Ooyamazumi no mikoto 大山祇命(山の神) Deity of Mountain
Yamato Takeru 日本武尊(武徳の神)Deity of the Samurai
More in the Wikipedia

. Hagoita 羽子板 Battledore, Shuttlecock .
from Atago Shrine, with the zodiac animal for every year

. Kagutsuchi カグツチ /
軻遇突智 Kagu-tsuchi - "incarnation of fire" .

- Homusubi no Mikoto 火産霊命

芝愛宕山 Shiba Atagoyama

Atagoyama 愛宕山 is a district in Tokyo, Minato ward, Shiba

. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .

. Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水 (1883 - 1957) .

haru n Atagoyama 春のあたご山 Atagoyama in the Spring
東京十二題 12 Scenes of Tokyo


Akibagongen 秋葉権現 and Izuna Atago
Since Akiba Gongen is also believed to have originated in the Mt. Izuna and Togakushi area, the two deities are obviously closely related. Since the Buddhist counterpart (honji or "original essence"; see honji suijaku) of Izuna Gongen is said to be the bodhisattva Jizō (Sk. Ksitigarbha), the cult displays a mutual influence with the Atago cult (which involved an amalgamation with Shōgun Jizō or "Jizō of victory").
As a result, the deities are often referred to by the conjoined name Izuna-Atago.

. Izuna Gongen, Iizuna no Gongen 飯網の権現 .

. Amulet to win a battle - Shogun Jizo .


Kankosai 還幸祭 Festival of Welcoming the Gods

Saga Matsuri 嵯峨祭 Shrine Nonomiya Jinja 野宮神社,
Atago Jinja, Kyoto 愛宕神社(京都市右京区)
Fourth Sunday in May

. Naked Festivals of Japan .

Akutai Matsuri "cursing festival"

Kasama Town, Atago Jinja

. Kisai 奇祭 special festivals .


Hatsu Atago 初愛宕 (はつあたご) First visit to Atago
kigo for the New Year

Ceremony at Atago, Atago no shinji
Messenger from Atago, Atago no tsukai
. . . o-koto no tsukai お事の使(おことのつかい)

The details are here:
. Bishamonten and Atago .


Atago no sennichi moode 愛宕の千日詣
1000 days pilgrimage at Atago

kigo for late summer

The official name is
sennichi tsuuyasai 千日通夜祭 "1000 days in one night".
It lasts from the night of July 21 to the early morning of August 8. People who visit during this time will be protected from fire for 1000 days.
The climb up to the mountain shrine is about 4 km long and lit by torches during the night.
Special buses and trains are run during the night to bring all the visitors.

at 9 in the evening of July 31
yuumikesai 夕御饌祭 "dinner for the deities"
the yamabushi make a purifying bonfire (gomataki ゴマ焚き神事)

at 2 in the morning of August 1
asamikesai 朝御饌祭 "breakfast for the deities"
Dance of the head priest, rituals to appease the fire

Look at some more photos from the shrine:
source : sentimairi4.htm

. WKD : Summer Ceremonies .


Atagobi 愛宕火 (あたごび ) "fire at Atago"

kigo for early autumn

This relates to the Atago shrine at Itami.
On the 24th of the seventh lunar month people put up lanterns and lit candles in rituals for the souls of the departed ancestors during O-Bon. Big torches were also carried around and thrown into the fire.
In the region o Setzu (now Hyogo and Northern Osaka) there were many Atago shrines.
At the Atago mountain in Kyoto it was a custom to throw simple clay dishes (kawarake) from the mountain to make a wish come true. The haiku is a combination of the two events.

Thrown from the 25th station on the way up

Atagobi no kawarake-nage ya Itamizaka

and the dish-throwing ritual -
Itami slope

. Ihara Saikaku, Ibara Saikaku 井原西鶴 .

source : zouhai.com

. . . CLICK here for Photos of dish-throwing !

Throwing hooroku plates from temple Mibudera
. Hooroku Jizo ほうろく地蔵 .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

goma seihai 護摩聖灰 sacred ashes from a Goma fire ritual
. Fukagawa Fudo Do (Fudoo Doo) 深川不動堂 .
Amulets are hung up at the ceiling of the home to prevent fire.

. Musaigai 無災害お守り amulets against fire .

達磨 越谷だるま
. hi no yoojin 火の用心 take care of fire - Daruma .


aki fukaku tomo to noborishi Atagoyama  

autumn deepens -
with a friend I climb up to
Mount Atago

Antoo 安東

. . . . .

枯れ梢 愛宕の山は 下紅葉    
Morikawa 森川

Antoo 安東

Kiyomizu 清水

Tokunaga 徳永

source : kunistok


tonboo no hyakudo mairi ya Atago yama

the dragonfly
on a one-hundred prayers circuit -
Mount Atago

Kubota Toen 久保田兎園
(1722 - 1801)

46 of his haiku are mistakenly attributed to Kobayashi Issa.
source : 久保田兎園 wiki

. Kubota Seifu 久保田成布 .

. "100 prayers circuit" 百度参り hyakudo mairi .

Related words

***** . Fire (kaji 火事) .

***** . Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

BACK : Top of this Saijiki


. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

hi no yoojin 火の用心
watch out for fire - fire prevention goods

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Atago shrines in Tohoku

Tono Jisha Meguri 遠野寺社巡り  temples and shrines in Tono, Iwate

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kyoounji 橋雲寺 Kyoun-Ji

Nr. 08 愛宕山 Atagosan - 橋雲寺 Kyoun-Ji

. 津軽弘法大師霊場 - Tsugaru Kobo Daishi Reijo
Pilgrimage to 23 Kobo Daishi temples in Tsugaru .

Regional people use to call this temple ”あだごさま”Atago Sama.

Gabi Greve said...

The support animal or messenger of this Atago Gongen is the wild boar, the symbol of courage, strength, and perseverance.

Jizo and the inoshishi 猪 wild boar
Shōgun Jizō 将軍地蔵 Shogun Jizo, General Jizo  


Gabi Greve said...

太郎坊 天狗 Taro-Bo, Tarobo Tengu from 愛宕山 Atagoyama
二郎坊 Jiro-Bo, Jirobo from Heiizan 比叡山 (sore sources place Jiro-Bo on Kuramayama)
僧正坊 Sojo-Bo, Sojobo from Kuramayama 鞍馬山 - Kurama Tengu

Gabi Greve said...

Legend - Chiba Narita

January 24 is the festival of Atago Gongen. Therefore every month on the 24 people abstain from using Sake, vinegar or Amazake, because this deity does not like them.
amazake legends

Gabi Greve said...

The 愛宕神社 Atago Shrine in Tokyo has a special staircase
shusse no ishidan 出世の石段 staircase to a good career

Once the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu wanted to have a branch of the plum tree that was blossoming at the top of the staircase, and asked his retainers to get it for him. But nobody wanted to make it up this steep stairway. Finally a samurai from Marugame, 曲垣平九郎 Magaki Heikuro made his horse run up the staircase in a show of his riding prowess and got the branch for the Shogun.
As a reward he got a famous sword, and became famous for his riding ability.
Now people come here to pray for a good career.

Gabi Greve said...

Taichoo, Taichō 泰澄上人 Saint Taicho Shonin / Taicho-Daishi 泰澄大師 (682 ?683 - 767)
Etsu no 越の大徳 Etsu no Daitoku - Great Man of Virtue from Etsu
Unpen Shoonin 雲遍上人 Saint Unpen Shonin
He was a teacher of Buddhism and later became a Tengu at Hakusan.
He was the second son of the samurai family of Mikami no Yasuzumi 三神安角(みかみのやすずみ)and became a monk at age 14.

He practised austerities at 愛宕山 Mount Atago together with En no Gyoja 役小角 En no Ozunu, where they met three Tengu and got special teachings and training.
While they were at the mountain, a strong rain hindered their meditation and they prayed for help.
Suddenly three Great Tengu 大天狗 appeared, Nichiryo from India 天竺(インド)の日良, Zegai from China 唐の善界 and Tarobo from Japan 日本の太郎坊.
"We have protected the Buddhist Law for more than 2000 years and helped the people who lived there." Then they disappeared.
Taicho declared the huge sugi cedar tree 杉 where this happened「清滝四所明神」Kiyotaki Shisho Myojin and on orders from the Court built a mausoleum for the emperor where the Deity 愛宕大権現 Atago Gongen was venerated there, now 白雲寺 Hakuun-Ji(愛宕神社 Atago Jinja).
(This legend became popular in the Edo period. And thus 愛宕山太郎坊 Tarobo from Mount Atago became the Boss of all Japanese Tengu.)
MORE about Taicho

Gabi Greve said...

Tengu, sugi 天狗と杉と伝説 Legends about Tengu and Cedar trees
and Unpen Shonin

Gabi Greve said...

67 - Shinpukuji 真福寺 Shinpuku-Ji
- 摩尼珠山 Manijuzan 宝光院 Hoko-In 真福寺 Shinpuku-Ji
港区愛宕1-3-8 / Minato ward, Atago, 1-3-8 Tokyo
愛宕下 真福寺 薬師堂 Atago-Shita Shinpuku-Ji Yakushido Hall
In the compound is a bronze statue of Shogun Jizo - related to the Atago Cult.

Gabi Greve said...

Kameoka Kaido 亀岡街道 Kameoka Highway
Connecting Osaka with 亀岡 Kameoka city in Tango / Kyoto.

Under the direction of Oda Nobunaga, Akechi Mitsuhide erected Kameyama Castle

Gabi Greve said...

Tsukuba Fudo 筑波不動 Fudo from Mount Tsukuba
筑波山 Tsukubasan 一乗院 Ichijo-In 真福寺 Shinpuku-Ji 愛宕坊 Atagobo, Aatgo Hall

茨城県つくば市上大島 / Ibaraki, Tsukuba city, Kami-Oshima