sacred Mt. Miwa-1

Japanese Shrine |Beautiful Japanese culture!|Mount Miwa #05‐How to worship at the sacred Mt. Miwa.

三輪山シリーズ#05 「三輪山登拝(とはい)」


Do you know about Japanese sacred mountains? Mount Miwa is one of the most important religious and historical mountain in Japan. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!


Mount Miwa#05 ‐How to worship at the sacred mount Miwa.


Two ways you can worship the Kami

When people visit Omiwa Shrine, some people worship the deities (Kami in Japanese) of the sacred Mount Miwa at the foot of the mountain, in front of the Haiden (worship hall), while others ask for permission to enter the mountain and worship in the mountain.

I prefer to do both.

The sacred mount Miwa

Mount Miwa is 467 meters high, and contains large trees such as pines, cedars, and cypresses.  As well as small shrubs such as camellias, sakaki (Cleyera japonica), and Japanese andromedas.

Mt. Miwa in Japanese poetry
andromedas in Mt. Miwa

For centuries people have revered the mountain.  Here is a poem from the eighth century “Manyoshu”, Japan’s first anthology of poetry. *Mimoro means Mount Miwa.


Mimoro mountain is the guardian of people
On its foothills bloom andromedas
On its heights bloom camellias
Beautiful is the mountain That consoles crying children

Like this poet says as you go up the mountain you see more camellias.
It takes about one hour to get to the top, even if you climb slowly.

Sacred rocks and enshrined deities

When you climb the mountain you will see clusters of cragged rocks surrounded by the sacred cedar trees.  On Mt. Miwa, even the rocks are held sacred, some are even larger than a man. For more than 2,000 years, these rocks have been the objects of worship as the rocks where the Kami dwells.

There are main clusters of rocks at the top, middle, and bottom of the mountain, called Okitsu-Iwakura, Nakatsu-Iwakura, and Hetsu-Iwakura, respectively.

It is believed that the three kami, Omononushi-no-Okami, Onamuchi-no-Okami and Sukunahikona-no-Okami are enshrined in the Iwakura, respectively.

How unique Mt. Miwa is


There is no place where all three kami are enshrined together except in Mount Miwa. These three kami have been worshiped as the deities of building nations, medicine and protectors of the Japanese people.

They are described in several ways in Japanese myths of “Kojiki” and the “NihonShoki”. In those myths when people were in times of distress or danger the kami appeared and helped them.

Profound sense of gratitude


It has been 20 years since I first climbed and worshipped this sacred mountain. While climbing the mountain I could feel life coming from every tree, every stream and every grain of sand.  I felt as if my mind and body were purified. Furthermore, when I put my hands together before the Iwakura, I was filled with a profound sense of gratitude.


Note: Recently climbing the mountain has not been allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So please confirm that the mountain is open to worshippers if you would like to climb it.


三輪山シリーズ#05「三輪山登拝(とはい)」

登拝という選択

大神神社を訪ねたら、御神体である三輪山を、拝殿でお参りすることも出来ますし、入山許可を頂き、お山を登りながらお参り(登拝)することもできます。私はどちらも好きです。

私たち三輪を信仰する者は、登拝することを、「お山する」と言います。

聖山三輪山

三輪山は高さ467mの山で、松、杉、檜の大樹と、椿や榊(さかき)、馬酔木(あせび)などの小灌木に覆われています。『万葉集』「759」13巻にも「みもろは 人の守る山 本辺は 馬酔木花咲き 末辺は 椿花咲く うらぐはし山ぞ 泣く子守る山」と歌われています。この歌のように上に行くに従い椿が多くなりますが、ゆっくり歩いて、1時間くらいで登ることができます。

磐座(いわくら)と御祭神(ごさいじん)

お山に入ると、途中に幾つか、杉木立に囲まれたところに、石の群れがあります。背の高さくらいの大きな石や、それより小さな石などの石群です。それを大神神社では磐座(いわくら) と呼びます。2千年以上も前から、神様が鎮まる磐座として信仰の対象となっています。

山の上方には、奥津磐座(おきついわくら)が、中腹には、中津磐座(なかついわくら)が、下方には、辺津磐座(へついわくら)があります。

それぞれ、大物主大神(おおものぬしのおおかみ)様、大己貴大神(おおなむちのおおかみ)様、少彦名大神(すくなひこなのおおかみ)様が祀られています。

この三柱の神が一緒に祀られているのは三輪山だけです。
三神とも医療の神様であり、国造りの神様であり、生活全般の守護神です。

古事記や日本書紀の神話に登場し、民や天皇や国が苦難や危機に陥った時に必ず現れて助けてくださいます。

登拝の体験

私が初めてお山したのは、約20年前になりますが、いつも神聖なお山の中では、木々の葉の一枚一枚が、そして小川の水の流れも、足元の砂の一粒一粒もが、きらきらと輝いて、心も体も洗われる思いがします。そして、磐座の前で手を合わせた時には、ただただ有難い気持ちでいっぱいになります。

注)コロナ禍で登拝の受付が中止になっているので、希望の方は都度神社に確認が必要です。

監修及び写真提供:大神神社東京分祠代表 根本幸夫先生
和歌の英文引用元:『現代人の心と神』同友社

Aki. S.

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