Nunakawa hime (沼河比売)

Nunakawa hime is a Shinto deity appearing in Japanese Mythology.


Although she does not appear in "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), she appear in the story of Okuninushi (chief god of Izumo in southern Honshu Island, Japan, and the central character in the important cycle of myths set in that region) in "Kojiki" (Records of Ancient Matters). As Yachihoko no kami (Okuninushi) wanted to marry Nunakawa hime who lived in rivers and marshes in the Koshi Province, he went to Koshi no kuni and composed a poem of a marriage proposal outside the house of Nunakawa hime. After Nunakawa hime composed a poem in reply, the two gods got married on the night of the following day.

Although there is no more description than this in the "Kojiki," the legend left in Itoigawa City, Niigata Prefecture, goes that Takeminakata no kami, who was born between Okuninushi and Nunakawa hime, went up the Himekawa River to Suwa and became an enshrined deity of the Suwa-taisha Shrine. "Sendai Kujihongi" (Ancient Japanese History) also describes that Takeminakata no kami is a son of Nunakawa hime (Koshi no Nunakawa hime).

According to the story of Miho-go, Shimane County, in "Izumo no kuni fudoki" (the topography of Izumo Province), she is a daughter of Hetsukushii no mikoto, a son of Okitsukushii no mikoto in Koshi no kuni, and bore Mihosusumi no mikoto to Onamochi no mikoto (Okuninushi).

The Nunakawa-jinja Shrine where Nunakawa hime is enshrined is listed in Engishiki Jinmyocho (the list of shrines in Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) left in Kubiki County, Echigo Province. There are three Ronja (shrines relative to those listed in Engishiki Jinmyocho) within the city of Itoigawa in Niigata Prefecture, such as the Amatsu-jinja keidai-sha Shrine (Itoigawa City) and the Nunagawa-jinja Shrine.

There is also a shrine dedicated to Nunakawa hime in Nagano Prefecture; Bateiseki (a horse's hoof seen upon the stone), on which marks of the hoofs of a deer she rode on are seen, is preserved there.

[Original Japanese]