Healing - Exhibits - History


Three wooden Shinto statues (shinzo) depicting the Sanzan Shujin (the three chief deities of the Kumano Three Grand Shrines) can be found at the Kumano Hayatama Grand Shrine.

These shinzo are unique because they take the form of a man in the prime of life whereas most of shinzo take the form of an old man.

The names of the three chief deities are; 'Ketsumimikono Ookami'(Susano no Mikoto) representing the Hongu Grand Shrine, 'Kumano Hayatama no Ookami' (Izanagi no Mikoto) representing the Hayatama Grand Shrine, and 'Fusumi no Kami' (Izanami no Mikoto) representing the Nachi Grand Shrine. All three Grand Shrines celebrate the existence of these three chief deities. The statues shown here are housed in the Hayatama Grand Shrine and were made in the Heian Era in 8th century A.D.
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The story of 'Oguri Hangan and Terutehime' is a special story that symbolizes healing in Kumano. According to legend Oguri Hangan's wife Terutehime, and many other pilgrims in turns, carried his disease-ridden body in a shabby old wooden cart all the way from Edo (now Tokyo) to Hongu to soak in the local hotsprings. After absorbing the healing powers of the Yunomune Hotsprings (Tsuboyu), Oguri Hangan recovered from his disease, as if dutifully responding to his wife's wish to see him healed even at the risk of her own life. 'Kurumazuka' is the place where they are said to have buried their cart which they no longer needed.
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Kajo Zanmai Ato (The Ruins of Self-Sacrificial Samadhi)
After climbing the mountain behind Mt. Nachi, you will find Myohozan Amidaji Temple, which is also called Nyonin Koya (a sacred mountain temple where women could enter unlike the real Mt. Koya where they strictly could not). Ojo Shonin, mentioned in Japanese historical records, is a monk who undertook severe practices in Myohozan Amidaji Temple above the Nachi Waterfall. His last practice was his final self-sacrifice. He ate nothing except pine needles, wore paper clothes, sat on the firewood facing the west and burned himself. A little altar marking the place where he sacrificed himself can be found behind Myohozan Amidaji Temple.
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Shaka Nyorai Zo
This wooden statue of Buddha is found in the Jododo ('temple of the Pure Land') building on top of Myoho Mountain. A Buddhist monk who lived during the Tang dynasty of China is believed to have carved this statue to show appreciation for his achievements in his 1000 day training which he underwent at the time. It is said that this piece was originally carved on a standing tree during the Heian Era. Walking for about 20 minutes along a mountain path leading from the main building of Amidaji Temple will take you to Jododo. Walking alone through the serene forest will make you realize that this mountain is the place where many souls have gathered after leaving this life.
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Senju Kannon Ritsu Zo
Senju Kannon, in the Buddhist tradition, is the 'formless saviour deity'. The statue here symbolizes a deity with one thousand hands and one thousand eyes which is meant to indicate that this deity is a saviour which comes in an infinite variety of forms. This Senshu Kannon is the main Buddha statue of Fudarakusanji Temple in Hamanomiya, Nachikatsuura Town. Fudarakusanji Temple is famous for 'Fudaraku Tokai' where the main monks of this temple set out for Kannon Jodo (The Pure Land of the Formless Saviour Deity) across the sea.
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Dainichi Nyorai Zo
This is a statue of MahaVairochana (the Universal Buddha) of the Tendai sect of esoteric Buddhism. It is located in the Seigantoji Temple near Nachi Falls. This temple is the first temple in the 'Pilgrimage of 33 Temples of Kannon Bodhisattvas in Kansai'. 'MahaVairochana' is called Dainichi Nyorai in Japanese and is the Buddhist deity expressive of the universal energy of creation. Dainichi Nyorai manifests itself in two ways. One is called Taizokai (the world of the universal womb) which is the energy of procreation. The other is Kongokai (the world of the universal diamond) which is the energy of sacred geometry. The mudra (hand position) in this photo symbolizes the energy of Kongokai.
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Ama Shogun (Female General)
Hojo Masako was called Ama Shogun (female shogun) because she was the wife of Minamotono Yoritomo who started the Kamakura Government (the end of the 12th century). This monument is believed to have been built by her when she made a pilgrimage to Kumano. Kamakura and Kumano had a deep connection because Yoritomo's aunt, Torii no Zenni was married to Kumano no Betto (the Governor of Kumano). At that time Kumano had a powerful navy. Therefore, Kamakura felt it to be strategic to be close to Kumano. There is a little pass called Nisakagoe on the way to Mt. Nachi from Hamanomiya. Right after this pass lies this monument built by Ama Shogun. Masako was the one who wielded the real power after Yoritomo's death. This monument was built by Ama Shogun for Yoritomo on her pilgrimage to Kumano.
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Warouzaishi (stone)
Echizen Toge Pass', the hardest part of the Kumano Kodo Old Road between Nachi and Hongu, is followed by a long and steep descent. This road leads to the ruins of an old inn. There you can find a big rock near the road. It is called Warouzaishi (Warouza Stone) and is said to have been where the gods of Kumano gathered to pleasantly chat. There are three Bonji (Sanskrit characters) engraved on it. Each character is symbolic of one of the three Buddhist deities of Kumano Three Grand Shrines. The middle one is pronounced 'bai' indicating Yakushi Nyorai (the deity of healing) and is connected to the Hayatama Grand Shrine. The left character is pronounced 'sa' indicating Kannon Bosatsu (the formless saviour deity) which is connected to the Nachi Grand Shrine. The right character is pronounced 'kiriku' indicating Amida Nyorai (the deity of resurrection) which is connected to the Hongu Grand Shrine. That means that we can be saved in the past, present, and future through the deities of the three Kumano Grand Shrines.
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Koshinto in Enmeiji Temple
Koshinto-a stone statue in Enmeiji Temple in Ugui, Nachikatsuura Town- was built by the locals to ward off evil spirits. According to the Chinese calendar and the Taoist I Ching, Koshin is a day of bad luck. The locals perform a yearly festival to ward the bad luck associated with Koshin.
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The Talisman of Kumano Go-ou Shinpu
This photo (above right) shows the talisman called 'Karasu Go-ou Shinpu. The characters are written here in the form of crows. The Three-Legged Crow was considered to be the messenger of the deities of the Kumano 3 Grand Shrines. This talisman is a signification of a promise between the deities of Kumano and human beings, and also between people themselves. According to legend, if someone broke their promise one crow would die at one of the Kumano Grand Shrines. This Talisman was given to pilgrims who came to Kumano and was also distributed throughout Japan by the Kumano Bikuni (Kumano missionary nuns). This photo shows the one belonging to the Kumano Hayatama Grand Shrine.
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The Okyo and Rosetsu Museum
This is an art museum in the town of Kushimoto. It is known for its large collection of works by Maruyama Okyo and his disciple, Rosetsu.This art museum lies within the precincts of the Muryoji Temple, the famous temple of the Rinzai Tofukuji sect.

The connection between this temple and the two painters started when a monk called Gukai asked Maruyama Okyo to paint murals for the new temple building after a tidal wave had washed away the original building in the Edo Era. Okyo had his best disciple, Nagasawa Rosetsu bring a painting to this temple. Rosetsu decided to stay in Kushimoto for a long time and produced a lot of art works which can now be seen in this museum along with the works of Okyo and other artists.
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Ryuko Zu (Dragon and Tiger Murals)
This is 'The Picture of a Dragon' by Rosetsu. 'The Tiger Picture' and 'The Dragon Picture' were painted by Nagasawa Rosetsu and are designated as national cultural treasures. They form a pair of fusuma paper screen paintings whose powerful brush touch evokes an inspiring atmosphere.
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Tsubo Yu
Yakushi Nyorai is the main deity of the ‘Tokoji Temple’ in the village of ‘Yunomine Onsen’, where the hotspring water is famous for its ‘wild and natural’ flavour. The existence of this healing deity in the region of Kumano is highly symbolic and is linked to the notion of Kumano as a land of healing and rebirth. A well-known legend also exists about a man called Oguri Hangan who recovered from a terminal disease by bathing in the waters of this hotspring--Tuboyu.

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