Kannabi Kamunabi



Daruma Pilgrims Gallery


Kannabi 神奈備

Kannabi, kamunabi, iwasaka, himorogi and other names refer to a place in nature where the gods are believed to reside, a "purified place". It is also a kind of yorishiro resting place for the god.


A place serving as residence to a kami, particularly used to refer to a sacred forest or mountain. The word appears to originate from a term meaning "divine seclusion," and is considered a synonym for the word mimoro, an ancient name for Mt. Miwa.

Man'yōshū includes numerous verses that employ the expression kannabi, including "the kannabi Mount Mimoro," or "the kami of the kannabi of Mimoro, "on the mountain of Mimoro, the divine kannabi," or "on the mountain kannabi of the water-racing rocks," and all such verses indicate kannabi's use as a pillow word referring to Mount Mimoro (i.e., Miwa).

In Izumo fudoki, the word kannabi is written with various character combinations and used to refer to mountains in the counties Ou-gun, Aika-gun, Tatenui-gun, and Izumo-gun, and some citations are accompanied by descriptions of the shrine Sadai Jinja found on the mountain's foothills, all indicating that the mountains there were considered divine.

Engishiki's "Register of the Names of kami" (Jinmyōchō) records the names of several shrines with the title Kannabi Jinja, including those in Yamashiro, Tanba, and Bingo Provinces. The Izumo no kuni no miyatsuko kamuyogoto found in book 8 of Engishiki also has descriptions of the enshrinement of the "gentle spirit" (nigimitama) of Ōnamuchi no mikoto at the kannabi of Ōmiwa, the enshrinement of the spirit of Ajisukitakahikone no mikoto at the kannabi of Katsuragi no Kamo, and the spirit of Kayanarumi no mikoto at the kannabi of Asuka.

It is also noteworthy that the kami found in these lists are mostly those indigenous to Izumo.

According to one theory, "divine mountains" (shintaizan) can be divided into two categories, namely, those of the "Asama type" (Mt. Ōyama) and those of the "Kannabi type."

The latter group includes conical mountains such as Mt. Miwa, Kasuga Taisha's Mt. Mikasa, Hiyoshi Taisha's Mt. Hachiōji, the mountain Kōyama of the Upper Kamo Shrine (Kami Kamo Jinja), and Mt. Mikami of the shrine Mikami Jinja.

 © Sugiyama Shigetsugu Kokugakuin University.


Mt. Kannabi and the Tebara River

by Nicholas J. Teele, Kyoto

At the top of Mt. Kannabi is an ancient Shinto shrine, the Kannabi Jinja. The whole of Mt. Kannabi has been considered sacred for over one thousand years. The crest of Mt. Kannabi is to the right, behind the shrine building. To the left there is a cliff.

Read it all here:
 © Nicholas J. Teele, Doshisha Kyoto


. Mimuro no yama み室の山 - 三室山 - 御室山 .
Nara, Mount Miwa 三輪山
and Ogura Hyakunin Isshu Poems 小倉百人一首


Itakiso Shrine 伊太祁曾神社 (いたきそじんじゃ )

CLICK for more photos !According to the first note of Nihon-shoki, God Susa-no-wo made beard into Japanese cedar, chest hair into Japanese cypress, buttock hair into Japanese torreya and eyebrow into camphor tree.They said that Japanese cedar and camphor tree is a good for boats, Japanese cypress is good for shrines and Japanese torreya is good for coffins.

So, God Susa-no-wo recommended to sow them and God Itakeru,Godess Ohya-tsu-hime, Godess Tsuma-tsu-hime,who are his sons and daughters, seeded them widely. Therefore, God Itakeru is said "Great god of Ki-i country(Now Wakayama and Mie prefecture)".

God Itakeru story is a legend about the introduction of needlereef trees. Before later-Jomon period, there were a lot of laurilignosa and little needlereef trees. In later-Jomon period, needlereef trees such as pine trees were brought from China or Korea.
Some people says that God Susa-no-wo is the god of typhoon and God Itakeru is the agent of him,as the god of heavy typhoon.

Place changes of Shrine Idakiso
A lot of people who worked at forests or seas were in Ki-i country and the mouth of Kinokawa-river was the good port of fine quality woods. Shrine Idakiso was near there, Akizuki(now Shrine Nitizen-gu). After the Ki family dominated the North of Ki-i country, this shrine were obliged to move into Inomori at Sando (now Shrine Mibu,500 meters south-east from the present place). At that time the shrine dedicated God Itakeru, Godess Ohya-tsu-hime and Godess Tsuma-tsu-hime. And then the three god and godess dedicated three different shrines and the shrine dedicating God Itakeru constructed at Idakiso. Mr.Suzuo Oku, the priest of Shrine Idakiso, say that these three shrines place on the circle which center is Akizuki and radius is 5km like a stationary orbit.

Kire kitchen midden is in a litte west of the shrine and this means that Sando was the seaside and there are a lot of remains of Jomon-period in Oike, a little east of the shrine. Therefore, we can say that the area around Sando was cultivated in ancient time. By the way, Sando is next to Susa or Oku-Susa.It is interesting that these areas occures me God Susa-no-wo.

God of trees
Steal is necessity for arms,shipbuilding and tools for reclaiming field or river improvement. So, charcoal for iron manufacture is the important strategic goods. Wakayama area plays an important part as a charcol-production district because the climate is worm enough to grow woods. Of course the quality of charcoal was very good.

In Wakayama,a lot of charcoal was producted before wwⅡ.So,the god of trees are still respected.Then a lot of scholars says God Susa-no-wo is the god of iron manufacture.

House of worship
This shrine is beautiful.There is a large Japanese torreya at the side of torii and it is suitable for the shrine dedicated the god of trees.There was a holy wood,a large Japanese cedar which age was some hundreds old.But it deid after wwⅡ.There is a beautiful harmony between the color of the pond and that of Taiko bridge.

In the festival day,the god isn't in heaven but in the shrine.Let's visit the shrine and pay offertories.
Jan.14,15 Ujyo-sai praying a lot of harvest
Apr. 1st Sunday Ki-matsuri praying the good growth of trees
Jul.30th Chinowa-sai : Going trough the special ring,you must be healthy. Legend of Somin Shorai .
Oct.15th Autumn festival thanks for rich harvest with Mikoshi.

 © Itakiso Shrine / kamnavi

. Somin Shoorai Fu 蘇民将来符 Somin Shorai amulet .


Tatsuta no Kamunabi, Nara Prefecture



Somin Shorai 蘇民将来 だるま

Somin Daruma 蘇民達磨

© PHOTO : snpdyr.blog103

The Somin belief is folk belief extensively disseminated in and after the Nara period (710-794) and is still alive in various regions in Japan. At Shinano Kokubunji Temple, Gozutenno-no-saimon (written address to deity Gozutenno) copied in 1480, which inscribes the Somin legend, was handed down, and the talisman is assumed to be made in these days.

Shinano Kokubunji Temple was built in the Nara period by the imperial edict of Emperor Shomu, but declined at the end of the Heian period (end of the 12th century), and in the medieval ages, the temple was moved to the present location and inherits the tradition of Kokubunji Temple. On the eighth day of every month, Konkomyokyo (Suvarnaprabhasa) is read aloud and the ritual is also called Yokado, and in particular, the street fair held on January 7 and 8 are thronged with people who call for the Somin Shorai-fu. The right to fabricate and distribute the Somin Shorai-fu is inherited by families who compose Somin-ko (a volunteer group related to Buddhism) only, and Somin Shorai-fu 蘇民将来符 is selected as a selected intangible folk cultural property for which measures must be taken to preserve records as folkways for distributing the Somin Shorai-fu.
source :  bunkashisan.ne.jp

The official ceremony at the shrine Kita no Tenmangu 北の天満宮 starts at six in the evening. People can then walk through the purifying "Ring of Reeds", chi no wa. They walk first through the left ring, then through the right ring and then through the left ring again. There is a special prayer for each turn, and on the last circle they repeat the name of "Somin Shorai " (Somin Shoorai, Somin Shourai) 蘇民将来(そみんしょうらい).
Somin was a poor man, but he offered food and lodgings to another rather poor-loking man who had come from the North to the South, who was in fact the deity Susano-O. This god gave him a ring of reeds to ward off illness, so Somin and his family lived well through the plagues, pests and diseases of their age.

(Somin Shoorai) 蘇民将来(そみんしょうらい)
Summer Purification Rituals

Daruma Museum

. . . CLICK here for Somin Shorai Photos !


Japanese Reference


Kannabi no niwaka ni sanki tama arare

the feel of mountain air
in the Kannabi forest -
hail in winter

Saitoo Umeko 斎藤梅子 (1929 )


kannabi no shika no me tomoru yuu kisuge

the yellow day lily
shines so brightly in the eye
of the Kannabi forest deer

Shirazawa Ryooko 白澤良子

kisuge 黄菅 Fam. Hemerocallidaceae


. shinboku 神木, shinju 神樹 sacred tree, divine tree .

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan

Izumo Kaido, The Old Road of Izumo 出雲街道


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