Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Hachiman Shrine in the Asami district in the south of Beppu City is the tutelary shrine of the town, and was founded in the 12th Century.
The entrance is flanked by two ancient cedars and the local tradition says that if a couple walk together between the trees they will be married.
Hachiman shrines, in Kyushu at least, tend to have retained more of their earlier decoration and are often painted a a dark red, rather than the vermillion associated with imperial or Inari shrines.
Since the Heian Period the kami nof Hachiman shrines have been equated with the legendary Emperor Ojin, and the kami are usually listed as Ojin, his mother Jingu, and father Chuai. Sometimes Ojins wife is listed too.
Now called the God of War, Hachiman has had a multitude of varying identities. The best resource in English on Hachiman is the American researcher Ross Bender, and many of his papers can be found here
The shrine has various interesting things within its grounds, some unusual-shaped stones in the walkway, a pure water spring, a treasure house
This huge camphor tree is said to be over 1,000 years old.
There are several sub-shrines in the grounds, but have been unable to find out exactly which kami they enshrine.