Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Can Go Back, Part2

From Honryu-ji, I headed straight north, which took me to the street leading west to the main expressway.  At this point, I was torn between heading back home, and going farther west to find the ruins of the Shimadzu castle.  The map implied that the ruins were in the middle of a big forested area, and it looked like a long walk out.  But, I figured that I'd at least try to get within eyesight of the forested area, so I turned towards the expressway.  Almost immediately, I encountered another historical marker that's not on my map, for Minami-Kata Jinja.

(Old map reproduction)

("The Festival of the Five Shrines
Minamikata Jinja and the five Kanmachi shrines
...The first Shimazu castle town...
The Shimadzu family came to Kagoshima in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. The 5th Lord, Sadahisa, took Tofukuji Castle, drove out the Yagami tribe and took control of Kagoshima. The castle remained the Shimadzu power base as their influence spread south.
It was during this period that Minakata Jinja moved here from Izumi Yamadoin. Known also as the Suwa Jinja, it is consecrated to Tateminakata-no-mikoto and Kotoshironushi-no-mikoto. It is the most sacred of the five Kanmachi shrines and recieved the patronage of the Shimadzu lords. As a result Suwa became a flourishing market town to rival Nishida. The other four shrines, Yasaku ("O-Gion-sa"), Inari, Kasuga and Wakamiya are also closely connected with the Shimadzu family. In January, May and September, large numbers of people visit the five shrines in a festival known as "Gosha mode".)

(Discarded old markers and lantern stones)

(Front of temple building)

The street I was on splits, with one set of lanes running through a tunnel in the hill, and the other going around north.  What I wanted was a little farther southwest on the other side of the Inari river, so I veered from the street toward the first bridge marked on the map.  However, the street on the other side of the bridge was under construction and the bridge was closed, so I had to go through the winding streets in hopes of tripping across the lane heading to the next bridge.  I lucked out, and the bridge opened up right across from Inari Jinja (mentioned in the write-up on Minamikata Jinja as one of the 5 main shrines).

(Front entrance)

(Monkey rock(?))

(Old carved rock at the side)

(A look inside the main building in front of the shrine.  Notice the faces piled up in the corner on the right.  These are masks attached to bamboo rakes, which are called Kuma-te (Bear hands).  They're used at the beginning of the year to ensure wealth and prosperity.  I made something similar as a papercraft last December.)

(One of the two kitsune flanking the shrine entrance. The next photo shows the wall visible in back of the kitsune.)

(Close-up of the shrine at the beck of the grounds)

(Another close-up)

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