Haruna Jinja UC
|The sōryūmon of Haruna Jinja|
Address: 849 Harunasan-machi, Takasaki-shi, Gunma Prefecture
How to get there: A number of trains stop at Takasaki Station. The Takasaki line runs from Ueno and other Tokyo Stations. Then board the Lake Harunako Bus from bus stop 2 at the West Exit of Takasaki Station. The bus takes 70 minutes and costs 1,100 yen one-way. The first torii is about 400 meters from the Haruna Jinja bus stop.
Enshrined kami: Homusubi no kami and Haniyama hime (Haniyasu no kami) and Toyokiirihiko in the kyohonenkan.
Prayers offered: Prayers for good rainfall and good harvests, fertility, success in business and marriage.
Best time to go: The autumn color is beautiful. There is a fireworks festival on Haruna Lake on August 1st.
|Haruna Jinja map courtesy of naoto001.com|
|Honsha of Haruna Jinja, all photos from here on courtesy of Japan Geographic|
|Kaguraden of Haruna Jinja|
A website I read claims the similarities between this pagoda and the famous one in Tokyo's Ueno zoo are "striking", this is a three-tired pagoda whereas Ueno's is five-levels. Like many religious sites in Japan, Haruna was a shinbutsu shugo site of combinatory practice until the Meiji period, and affiliated with Kaneji temple, which was located in Ueno, Tokyo, from the 14th to 19th century. The multi-level shrine grounds lies nestled in a cedar forest with streams and waterfalls. At about 860 meters above sea level, some of these falls freeze in winter. But perhaps most impressive are the fantastically-shaped rocks - including the Misugata-iwa - that form an impressive background to the shrine. Final mention goes to the towering cedars that dot the landscape. One of these is the Yatate Cedar – located near the hand-washing basin at the beginning of the final climb to the shrine – a Natural Monument of Japan.
Important spiritual features: A number of Haruna shrines are listed in the Engishiki of 927, a compilation of rights and prayers which lists 3032 shrines. The main kami worshiped here is Homusubi or Kagutsuchi the original kami of fire, whose birth caused the death of Izanami. This kami became the object of popular faith, conversely, as a tutelary for protection from fire. Recorded in Nihongi, Haniyasu no kami is a tutelary kami of earth that was produced by Izanagi and Izanami after they had completed giving birth to the "Great Eight-Island Country" (Ōyashimaguni-Japan). The name haniyasu is thought to mean "to knead earth so as to make it soft." Kojiki relates that the two kami Haniyasu hiko no kami and Haniyasu hime no kami were produced from Izanami's feces. It seems that after the medieval period, the shrines fortunes declined and was ultimately revived and strengthened by the Tendai monk Tenkai who was abbot of Kaneji Temple and a close advisor of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Tenkai was responsible for Ieyasu being enshrined as the kami Tosho Daigongen. Monks called betto ran the shrine from this time until the Meiji Period.
|One of the many small falls in the vicinity of the shrine|