Katsuragi Futakami-jinja Shrine (葛木二上神社)

Katsuragi Futakami-jinja Shrine (or Katsuragi Nijo-jinja Shrine) is located around the top of the Mt. Odake in the Nijo-zan mountain range (Nara Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture) in Katsuragi City, Nara Prefecture. It was a shikinaisha (a shrine listed in the Engishiki laws) and was categorized as a gosha (a village shrine) under the old shrine ranking system. The shrine is also known as Futakami-jinja Shrine or as Katsuraginiimasu Futakami no-jinja Shrine.

Enshrined Deities
Katsuragi Futakami-jinja Shrine enshrines Toyofutsunomitama no Kami and Kunitama (the spirit of the land). According to a legend, a ceremony for kanjo (the ceremonial transfer of a divided tutelary deity to a new location) was held to transfer Toyofutsunomitama no Kami and Okunitama no Kami to Isonokami-jingu Shrine and Oyamato-jinja Shrine respectively. Regarding the deity name 'Toyofutsunomitama no Kami,' it is unknown why the word 'Toyo' is attached to the head of the well known name 'Futsunomitama' (the sacred sword given by Amaterasu Omikami [the Sun Goddess] to Emperor Jinmu). Furthermore, Toyofutsunomitama no Kami and Takemikazuchi are considered to be the same deity. Okunitama no Kami is considered to be the Daishogun (commander in chief) of Kunitsukami (gods of the land).

"Jinja yoroku" (Main records of shrines) and "Jingishi" (the part of "Dainihonshi" [Great history of Japan] about divinity) mention 'Takemikazuchi no mikoto, Okuninushi no mikoto' and 'Kinotoyofutsunomitama no Kami, Daikokushin' respectively. It seems that a god and a goddess had originally been enshrined at each top of Mt. Oyama and Mt. Meyama in the Nijo-zan mountain range.

It is unknown in which era the shrine was established. There is a layer of Sanuki-gan stone (Sanukaite) (a kind of bronzite andesite), of which stone tools can be made, in the ground under the Nijo-zan mountain range, and therefore, it is believed that people had lived around there since ancient times. The first literature record of the shrine can be found in "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (sixth of the six classical Japanese history texts) which states that the Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank) shinkai (rank granted to Shinto deities) was bestowed upon the shrine on January 27, 859. The Engishiki Jinmyocho (a register of shrines in Japan) mentions 'Katsuragi Futakami-jinja shrine enshrining two gods in Katsuraginoshimo County, Yamato Province' and lists the shrine as a taisha (grand shrine). Taima-dera fukin-ezu' (a picture of the scenery around the Taima-dera temple) housed in the Nakano-bo Hall of Taima-dera temple revealed that there was a yashiro (shrine) enshrining Shinjya-daio (Ryuo [dragon-king]) on Mt. Medake in the Nijo-zan mountain range.

According to a legend, the yashiro was transferred to Nakano-bo Hall and is currently enshrined as a chinju (local Shinto deity), and the shrine became a shoshi (a small shrine) of Ryuo-sha which was a massha (a small shrine belonging to the main shrine) belonging to Inari-jinja shrine located within the precincts of the temple. Relationship between the yashiro and Katsuragi Futakami-jinja shrine is unknown.

In the early-modern times, the shrine was called 'Take no Gongen (avatar of the gods enshrined in the mountain)' and it was considered to be an ujigami (a guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion) of dozens of villages in the mountain community where watercourses descending from the Nijo mountain range were used. In April 1873, the shrine was designated a gosha (village shrine).

Shrine Precinct
A small goshintai (object of worship housed in a Shinto shrine and believed to contain the spirit of a deity) made of sakaki (species of evergreen sacred to Shinto) is placed in the current shaden (a shrine building), which once burnt down in a great fire in the Nijo mountain range in 1974 before being rebuilt in the following year, 1975. The tomb of Prince Otsu stands to the east of the honsha (main shrine).

The enshrined deity Okunitama no kami is also enshrined as an aidonoshin (an enshrined deity other than the main enshrined deity) in Katsuragisitoriniimasu Amenohaikazuchinomikoto-jinja Shrine (Shizuri-jinja shrine) at the base of the mountain range.

In a year of drought, the people in the mountain community climbed up the mountain prayed for rain by chanting "The god of the mountain likes flags. Let's bring flags to the god to ask for rain." Nowadays, volunteers perform the 'Takenobori' (mountain climbing) every year on April 23.

When entering the shrine precinct, it is necessary to pay 200 yen for the beautification and maintenance of the shrine.

External Links
(Investigation of Engishiki-jinja shrine)

[Original Japanese]