[Nagano]Togakushi Shrine “ Hiding behind the door”2013.12.16

As Togakushi means “ hiding behind a door”, Togakushi shrine has been described in some of the famous Japanese myths about “ behind the door”.


Photo by monoooki

One day, the goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu, got upset with her brother’s aggressive behavior and locked herself in a cave. In order to save the world from the darkness, other deities came up with an idea of partying in front of the cave to get Amaterasu’s attention. When she slightly opened the door to peek out and see what’s going on, one of the deities promptly grabbed the door and threw it down to this world. Where the door landed turned into Mt. Togakushi, where Togakushi Shrine had been built. Later the dance and the music performed by those deities became the origin of Daidai Kagura, sacred Shinto music and dance, which have been passed down in this area.


Photo by dishhh

According to another myth, a monk captured a devil with 9 heads and a tail of a dragon and confined it behind a rock door to a cave. Later the devil was enshrined by mountain priests and in return, it offered its power as the water god.


Photo by dishhh

At the present day, Togakushi, located in Nagano city. Nagano, consists of 5 major shrines that enshrines deities who helped Amaterasu to come out of the cave, and the water god. Sacred cedar trees at the shrine are as impressive as the history of the shrine. Some of the trees are estimated to be over 800 years old.


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