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

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.

andromedas in Mt. Miwa
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。


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。








監修及び写真提供:大神神社東京分祠代表 根本幸夫先生

Aki Sawaguchi.

Editor: Stuart Cauley.


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