Final Resting Place of Izanagi: Izanagi Shrine

Date: 22nd November 2018

According to the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters), the oldest historical record of Japan, Awajishima (淡路島) is said to be the first island born during the kuniumi (creation of Japan) by the gods Izanagi and Izanami. The Izanagi Shrine (伊弉諾神宮) on the island is dedicated to both gods, and is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan.

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Torii leading to the shrine

Izanagi was said to have retired in Taga of Oumi in Awajishima after completing his heavenly duties of creating the country, handing over his duties to Amaterasu, one of his daughters.

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Haiden

Awajishima is also said to be the centre of Japan (in case you think this contradicts my Ikushima-Tarushima Jinja post, the “centre” it meant for both shrines is different), due to its location in the centre of the winter and summer solstice lines. Read more about this theory on Green Shinto’s page.

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Izanagi Shrine was also the ichinomiya of the Awaji Province, which meant that it was the highest rank Shinto Shrine in the province. In the Shakaku shrine ranking, it was ranked as a kanpei-sha (imperial shrine) of the 1st rank along with 66 other shrines.

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The structures in the shrine today mostly dated back to the Meiji era in the exception of two gates which were of the 17th century.

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There is a 900-year old camphor tree here called Meoto-ookusu (husband and wife giant camphor tree) which used to be two separate trees which eventually joined together, leading people to pray here for a happy marriage.

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900 year-old camphor tree

There is a little pond garden on the shrine grounds featuring a little red bridge, a pond shrine and a tortoise stone statue.

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If you are interested in the creation myth of Japan, consider visiting other sites in Awajishima related to kuniumi – Onokorojima Shrine, Eshima and Nushima. I did not get to include these in my itinerary but I would definitely visit them in my next return to Awajishima.

Info

Always open, Free admission

Official website (Japanese)

Access

The Awaji Kotsu Bus Nishiura-Ichinomiya Line stops at Izanagijingumae Bus Stop which is just 3 minutes on foot to the shrine. The bus runs 8 times a day and the schedule is also available via Google Maps. If you are taking the bus, the bus route’s last stop is the Nojima Fault Preservation Museum, the fault responsible for the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

If driving:

  • 50 minutes from Akashi
  • 30 minutes from Sumoto Bus Terminal
  • 50 minutes from Naruto
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Author: Jennifer

Hi! I am Jennifer. I enjoy planning my own travels and love traveling in Japan - for the history, nature, temples, and the food! Read more for travel guides of places I have visited.

4 thoughts

  1. Hi Jen. Interesting read. Your post had me thinking because when I researched the history of Hiroshima Prefecture I came across Izanami and Izanagi. This is what I wrote – “On an interesting side note, in the KOJIKI (Ancient chronical of mythical Japan), thought to have been written in the Nara Period, Aki Province is mentioned as the burial place of Izanami no Mikoto, and her husband Izanagi no Mikoto. Izanami is known as the goddess of life and death and is thought to be entombed on Mt Hiba in the Taishakukyu valley region.” I haven’t been to see the tomb in Hiroshima and it’s the first I have heard about the shrine on Awaji Island.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. Yes I have heard of Mt Hiba being the burial place for Izanami, but not for Izanagi. There were indeed varying theories of where Taga is, and Awaji Island is one of them.

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