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Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine

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Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine Main Torii (Gate)

Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is located in the Izumo city of the Shimane prefecture in the Chugoku Region.  Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is also known as Izumo Oyashiro.  Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is the largest, oldest and most important Shinto Shrines in the entire Japan.  The Izumo region is long been known as the realm of the Shinto gods and the land of mythology.

There are multiple ways of getting to Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine.  The best way is to get to JR Izumoshi Station and take a bus from there to Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine.  If you are staying in Kyoto or Osaka, you can go to JR Okayama station.  From JR Okayama Station, take the Limited Express Train Yakumo, to get to JR Izumoshi Station.  If you are carrying JR Pass, you can use it on Limited Express Yakumo Train.

Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine SealThe enshrined deity O-Kuninushi-no-okami, is known as the "creator of all things under the heavens".  As a savior and protector of the natural way of all things, and a deity with great love for our ancestors he, shares their joy and sadness,

Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine Seal

cultivated the land, took great pains to develop the nation, introduced agriculture and fishing to the people to help lay the foundations for every day life, taught them effective methods of crop production and developed medicines to save people from the pains of their sicknesses.  O-kuninushi-no-okami is the god of Izumo, and he is also known as "En-musubi", the creator and arranger of relationships.  He is credited with founding the land of Japan and making it suitable to live in.  After successfully achieving the tasks he presented the land to Amaterasu-Omikami and went into seclusion.

According to the Nihon-Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan), Amaterasu-Omikami, the parent goddess of all the Japanese people, was impressed with the work that O-kuninushi-no-okami has done to develop the Land of Japan, declared that "From now on, my descendents will attend to the administration of this nation"  She then ordered her second son, Amenohohi-no-mikoto to serve O-Kuninushi-no-okami forever.  Amaterasu-omikami then ordered all of the other gods to gather at the foot of Mt. Ugayama and construct a grand palace there.  This palace was then used to enshrine O-Kuninushi-no-okami and since then been called as Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine.  The future administrators of the rituals for O-kuninushi-no-okami and Izumo Oyashiro are descended in a single lineage from Amenohohi-no-mikoto (second son of Amaterasu-Omikami), the original servant of the Izumo Grand Shrine.

One of the Massive Halls in the Izumo Taisha Precincts

Some of the structures in the precincts are really massive in size.  According to the historical documents from the Nara Period, such as Kojiki and Nihon-Shoki the Main Structures were built to glorify the achievements of O-kuninushi-Okami.  The original structure that was built believed to be in 950 AD and it reached a height of 48 meters, topping the 45 meter height of the Great Buddha Hall of Nara's Todaiji Temple.  The present structure that was rebuilt in 1744 is at a height of 24 meters. 

With the founding of Izumo Oyashiro, Amenohohi-no-mikoto dedicated himself to the service of O-kuninushi-no-okami.  Amenohohi-no-mikoto and his descendents have dedicated themselves to the care of the shrine and the festivals and rituals conducted there.  They have filled the role of Izumo Kokuso (Governor of the Izumo Region) in succession.  The current Chief priest is Takamasa Senge, the 84th generation Izumo Kokuso and a direct male descendent in the Kokuso lineage.  An ancient family such as this, in fact, is well suited to the administration of Japan's oldest shrine, Izumo Oyashiro.  (Source: Shrine Brochure).

There is a Grand Festival, that takes place from May 14th to May 16th is the most important festival at Izumo Oyashiro.  Other than this festival there are festivals at this shrine almost every month.

Here is a video of this grand old shrine Izumo Oyashiro:

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