Munakata Shrine


Munakata Taisha 宗像大社
Munakata Jinja 宗像神社

Munakata Shrine in Fukuoka prefecture, Munakata village
福岡県宗像郡の宗像大社, 福岡県宗像市田島2331

Munakata no Kami 宗像神 the Munakata Deity

The group of three important female deities
Tagori-hime, Tagitsu- hime and Ochikishima- hime.
see below.


Munakata Taisha (宗像大社) is a collection of three Shinto shrines located in Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is the head of the approximately 6,000 Munakata shrines all over the country. Although the name Munakata Taisha refers all three shrines
Hetsu-gū, Nakatsu-gū and Okitsu-gū
it is commonly used to refer to Hetsu-gū alone. As documented in Japan's second oldest book, Nihon Shoki, the shrines are devoted to the three Munakata goddesses. These kami are believed to be daughters of the god Amaterasu, the ancestor of the imperial family. Susanoo has also been worshipped there for many years as the god of mariners, and he has come to be worshipped as the god of traffic safety on land as well.

Munakata Taisha is also home to many Japanese treasures. Hetsu-gū's honden (main shrine) and haiden (main prayer hall) are both designated Important Cultural Properties. The Shinpō-kan (神寶館), the shrine's treasure hall located on the southwest corner of Hetsu-gū's grounds, houses many important relics including six National Treasures of Japan. Over 120,000 artifacts housed in the Shinpō-kan were unearthed on Okinoshima.

Three shrines
All three shrines are located in Fukuoka Prefecture, yet they are all on separate islands. The main shrine, Hetsu-gū, is located on the mainland of Kyūshū. Nakatsu-gū is established at the foot of Mt. Mitake on the island of Ōshima off the west coast of Kyūshū.

The final shrine, Okitsu-gū, is on the island of Okinoshima located in the middle of the Genkai Sea. The shrine occupies the entire island, therefore women are not allowed to set foot on the island and men must perform a purification ceremony before landing.

Hetsu-gū (辺津宮) Ichikishima Hime-no-Kami (市杵島姫神)

Nakatsu-gū (中津宮) Tagitsu Hime-no-Kami (湍津姫神)

Okitsu-gū (沖津宮) Tagori Hime-no-Kami (田心姫神)

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Munakata Shrines 宗像 and Munakata Taisha 宗像大社.
Munakata Taisha in Munakata City (Fukuoka) is the mother shrine for some 6,000 satellite Munakata shrines nationwide. Munakata shrines are dedicated to the Munakata Sannyoshin 宗像三女神 (also written 胸形三女神), the "Three Female Kami of Munakata."
These three are water goddesses, island kami, and patrons of safety at sea, bountiful fishing, guarding the nation, and protecting the imperial household. The trio appear in the Kojiki 古事記 (K) and Nihon Shoki 日本書紀 (NS), two of Japan's earliest official records of the 8th century, although the spelling of their names differ slightly.
Their worship began under the patronage of the Munakata 宗像 clan on Kyūshū (Kyushu) island, hence they are named the Three Goddesses of Munakata. In the 8th and 9th centuries, Japanese envoys to Korea and China visited Munakata Taisha before their departure to pray for safety on the sea voyage (in the Nihongi, the supreme sun goddess Amaterasu commands them to protect the sea route from northern Kyushu to the Korean Peninsula).
In the classical texts mentioned above, all three kami were formed when sun goddess Amaterasu broke Susanō's sword, chewed it in her mouth, then blew out a mist that produced the triad.

The three kami are:
Ichikishima-hime 市杵嶋姫命
Tagitsu-hime 多岐都比売命
Tagori-hime 田心姫
- Tagirihime no Mikoto, Tagiri Hime no Mikoto 田心姫命 / 多岐理比売命

- MORE : - Mark Schumacher

- - - - -These three female deities at
. Isaniwa Jinja 伊佐爾波神社 Matsuyama .

- quote
Tagorihime - Tagirihime no mikoto(Kojiki)
One of three female kami produced as a result of the trial by pledge (ukei) between Amaterasu and Susanoo. The three became known as the "three goddesses of Munakata" as a result of their enshrinement and worship at the shrine Munakata Taisha by the Munakata clan, and are thus believed to have been sea deities or tutelaries of travel on the Genkai Sea.
snip . . .
- source : Kadoya Atsushi - Kokugakuin


The deity in residence of this shrine is

Ichikishima hime 市杵島姫(いちきしまひめ)
Takishi hime, Takiri Hime タキツヒメ・タキリヒメ
daughter of Amaterasu and officially celebrated at the Itsukushima shrine in Miyajima, Hiroshima.

The shrine overlooks the Genkai Nada 玄界灘 open sea off Kyushu.

People pray here for safety at sea, but also for progress in the arts and good business (kooyoo no kami 交易の神).
交易=市 explains her name.

Munakata Taisha is also called "Michinushi no Muchi" .
Muchi is noble honorific for god. Nihon-shoki describes the Munakata Daijin as the best way of god.

The Divine Message of God
"Ye three Goddesses shall descend to Michi-no-Naka, help the successive descendants,
have them hold ye in reverence."

(from the Nihon-shoki)

Ichikishimahime (Kojiki)(Nihongi)
Other names: Sayoribime no mikoto (Kojiki)

One of the three female kami produced as a result of the trial by pledge (ukei) between Amaterasu and Susanoo, Ichikishimahime is enshrined at the Hetsugū, one of three shrines at the Munakata Taisha in the old province of Chikuzen (present-day Fukuoka). She is believed to have originally been a sea tutelary protecting the sea lanes in the Genkai Sea, and is later known as one of the kami enshrined at Itsukushima Jinja (Hiroshima Prefecture), where she may have been brought after the Engishiki period and enshrined as central object of worship.

At Itsukushima, Ichikishimahime was also the object of combinatory currents in the medieval period, and came to be identified variously with the daughter of the Indian dragon king Sagara or a younger sister of Empress Jingū, while alternately receiving worship as the Indian goddess Benzaiten. See also Tagorihime.
source : Kadoya Atsushi, Kokugakuin, 2005

Mede TAI 目出鯛 auspicious sea bream amulet

Munakata Shinkō - Munakata shinkoo 宗像信仰
The faith related to Munakata Jinja
The faith has elements of guarding the nation and protecting the imperial house, as well as safety at sea and ensuring fishermen a bountiful catch. Munakata can also be written with the characters 胸形 or 宗形. The Jinmyōchō section of the Engishiki records that there were Munakata shrines stretching from northern Kyushu to the Kantō area. Among these, Munakata Taisha located in Fukuoka Prefecture is the most famous.

The shrine's enshrined kami's (saijin) are the "Three Female Kami of Munakata" (Munakata Sanjoshin), Ichikishimahime no kami enshrined at Hetsumiya in Genkaimachi Tashima, Munakatagun, Tagitsuhime no kami, enshrined at Nakatsumiya on the island Ōshima, located roughly ten kilometers from land, and Tagorihime no kami, enshrined at Okitsumiya on the island of Okinoshima in the center of the Genkainada sea.

That the Munakata Sanjoshin are worshipped individually at a different location is recorded at an early date in such documents as the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki, but there are variant characters for the kami's names and different locations for their enshrinement. At the approximately six thousand Munakata shrines in Japan, the respective "enshrined kamis" (saijin) worshipped vary according to each shrine's origin legend.

The Sanjoshin are said to have been born on the occasion of the "divination trial" or "contract" (ukehi) between Amaterasu and Susanoo. The original meaning of the names of each kami derives from "female mediums" (miko) (Ichikishimahime), rough water (Tagitsuhime), and fog (Tagorihime), and the Sanjoshin are deifications of miko, rough water, and fog.

In the Nihonshoki Amaterasu ōkami commands that the three kami of Munakata "descend to the middle of the route (the sea route from Northern Kyushu to the Korean Peninsula), assist the heavenly grandchild (tenson – i.e. Ninigi no mikoto) and allow yourselves to be worshipped by the heavenly grandchild." The kami was also prayed to for safe sea travel by emissaries along northern routes, such as the early envoys to China (kentōshi) and demonstrated wondrous efficacy at the time of Empress Jingū's military expedition to the Korean peninsula.

The kami developed into a guardian of the nation and protector of the imperial house, as well as a protector of sea travelers, and enjoyed the fervent faith of people from all walks of life. The Munakata clan officiated at the festival of the Sanjoshin. Along with the new system of land governance instituted during the Taika Reforms, the county Munakatagun was designated a "shrine tribute land" (shingun) and the Munakata clan simultaneously occupied the post of governor (tairyō or kōri no miyatsuko) of that county.

The Munakata clan not only had close ties to the imperial house, but established marriage connections with powerful people on the continent. Even after the Japanese government stopped sending envoys (kentōshi) to China, the clans trade with the continent continued and they were powerful with regard to rights of sea travel and trade.

Today only shrine priests (shinshoku) reside on the island of Okinoshima, which has a circumference of approximately four kilometers. The island has a tremendous "altar constructed from stones" (iwasaka) which was the subject of a fieldwork study from 1954-1972. Research revealed the remains of ceremonies and objects in the crevices of the rocks dating back to between the fourth and ninth centuries, elucidating the development of early Shinto rituals and how people worshipped.

The more than 100,000 ceremonial objects discovered originate not only in Japan, but also include objects from the Korean peninsula, China, and even Persia. Many have been designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. There is a taboo against speaking about Okinoshima and against removing any objects from of the island.

source : Nogami Takahiro, Kokugakuin, 2007

. Ninigi ニニギ and Sakuyahime 花咲屋姫命 .


. Funadama 船霊 guardian deity of a boat .

市杵嶋姫神 いちきしまひめのかみ。水の神様。弁天様と習合。Ichiki Shima Hime no Kami
闇淤加美神 くらおかみのかみ。水の神・龍神様。Kura Kami no Kami
高淤加美神 たかおかみのかみ。水の神・龍神様。Takao Kami no Kami
宗像の神 むなかたのかみ。海上交通の神様。水の神様。Munakata no Kami
罔象女神 みづはのめのかみ。水を司る神。雨乞いの神。Mizuba no Me no Kami

The Munakata Deities and the Waka poet
. Kakinomoto Hitomaro 柿本人麻呂 Hitomaru 人丸 / 人麿 . .

Kakinomoto is venerated at two shrines in Fukuoka

Waka Jinja 和歌神社 Shrine of Waka Poets
in the compound of 宗像大社 Munakata Taisha, 2331 Tashima, Munakata

source : kofunmeguriwalking.web ... munakatataisya

- - - - - and

和歌神社 Waka Jinja
福岡県宗像市大井929, Munakata City, Oi 929

- More photos :
- source : - kofunmeguriwalking.web ... wakajinja-ooi


Sato Masato writes:
Due to belief in the "Three Female Kami" (sanjoshin) of Munakata at Itsukushima Jinja, the Itsukushima kami was worshipped as a protector of fishermen and boats.

. Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社 Itsukushima Jinja .


Amulets from the shrine

eto ittobori 干支一刀彫り zodiac animals
cut with one blade

Auspicious items for the New Year 正月縁起物

Kootsuu anzen 交通安全守 trafic safety
and more
source : www.munakata-taisha.or.jp

Munakata Taisha blesses all the good human behavior and is considered a most precious god by people. 
source : English Homepage



kigo for mid-winter

Munakata sai 宗像祭 (むなかたさい) Munakata festival
koshiki sai 古式祭(こしきさい)festival in the old style

古式祭(御座)/ 鎮火祭
December 15 or a Sunday nearby

For the ceremony,which dates back more than 800 years, special food offerings are made, consisting of rice, sake, salt and water, gebasa seaweed ゲバサ藻, soy beans, and miso paste blended into a kind of salad (aemono). Kunenbo mikans 九年母 and a special kind of hishimochi ricecakes 菱餅 are also offered. After the ritual offering, the food is eaten by the participants to honor the deity, pray for a long life and give thanks for her bountiful protection.

Admission for this ceremonial feast is 1000 yen.

約800年の伝統をもち、特殊な神饌(九年母・ゲバサ藻・菱餅)を神前にお供えして、 今年最後の収穫を感謝するお祭りです。祭典に引き続き、 神様とともに一年の喜びを分かちあい、「神人和楽」を共にする”延命招福の集い”「御座」が催されます。
source : www.munakata-taisha.or.jp


The Menu of the Ceremony

Deities and Men eating together

Look at more photos:
source : wakemitama


observance kigo for the New Year

Ichigami matsuri 市神祭 (いちがみまつり)
festival for the God of the Market

Celebrated in many towns of Japan, but especially at Munakata Shrine in Kyoto at the first market day, usually around January 10.
People take part to ward off evil in the coming year.

. New Year Markets .


Kitty Chan
in the driver seat -
are you surprized ?


. Suitengu 水天宮 Shrine for the Water God .
Deity in residence
. Amenominakanushi no kami 天之御中主神 .
Ame no minaka nushi no kami / 天御中主神
. Antoku Tenno 安徳天皇 .
Ame no Mikumari no Kami 天之水分神
Kuni no Mikumari no Kami 国之水分神

. Festivals, Ceremonies, Rituals - SAIJIKI .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 




Gabi Greve said...

Yasaka Jinja, Kyoto

In the compound is also the shrine Utsukushi Gozen Sha 美御前社
with three beautiful female deities:

Ichikishima Hime no Mikoto 杵島比売命
Tagiri Hime no Mikoto 多岐理比売命
Tagitsu Hime no Mikoto 多岐津比売命

Gabi Greve said...

- Japan Times - 2014
There are gods behind the Idemitsu Museum of Arts

Rei Sasaguchi
“Revere gods and love people” was the motto of Sazo Idemitsu (1885-1981), the founder of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., and he literally followed it his entire life.

In 1942, Idemitsu, a native of the Munakata area of Fukuoka Prefecture, led the Munakata Shrine Fukko Kiseikai (Restoration Committee) and was instrumental in restoring the grand shrine’s buildings, which were by that point in a derelict state. So much work was involved that it was not until 1971 that it was ready to revive the tradition of receiving worshippers.

Now the Idemitsu Museum of Arts in Tokyo is holding an exhibition of 106 artifacts from the Munakata Grand Shrine, including many national treasures, alongside others excavated on the island of Okinoshima. The exhibition is the legacy of Idemitsu, who devoted his life to restoring the shrine prominence.

The Munakata Grand Shrine consists of three smaller shrines dedicated to different Shinto deities: Okitsugu on Okinoshima, which enshrines the image of the goddess Tagorihime; Nakatsugu on the island of Oshima, dedicated to Tagitsuhime; and Hetsugu, the main shrine at Tashima in Munakata City, dedicated to Ichikishimahime. Together, the goddesses were believed to protect ocean traffic in ancient Japan, when Munakata and the Sea of Genkai were important transport routes to the Korean Peninsula and China. Legend has it that these three deities were born of Susanoo-no-Mikoto, god of the sea and storms, and their births are mentioned in the ancient records of the “Kojiki” and “Nihon Shoki.”

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Hyogo, 南あわじ市 Minami-Awaji city
Manai no jintoku 真名井の神徳 the divine blessing of Manai
When the people of 淡路津名郡沼島 Nu Island in the Tsuna District of Awaji begun to dig a well,
they came to a bedrock layer harder then iron and they could not go on.
But from the well near Hashimangu Sha 八幡宮社 the Hachiman Shrine there came clear water that more than 1000 families could not exhaust.
This is due to the 神徳 Jintoku divine blessing of 八幡宮の三女神真名井 the three female deities of the Hachiman Shrine in Manai.
. Munakata Sannyoshin 宗像三女神 the "Three Female Kami of Munakata." .
Manai Shrine
Manai no jintoku 真名井の神徳 the divine blessing of Manai
When the people of 淡路津名郡沼島 Nu Island in the Tsuna District of Awaji begun to dig a well,
they came to a bedrock layer harder then iron and they could not go on.
But from the well near Hashimangu Sha 八幡宮社 the Hachiman Shrine there came clear water that more than 1000 families could not exhaust.
This is due to the 神徳 Jintoku divine blessing of 八幡宮の三女神真名井 the three female deities of the Hachiman Shrine in Manai.
. Munakata Sannyoshin 宗像三女神 the "Three Female Kami of Munakata." .