Natural Spirits in Mt.Hakusan


I visited Shirayama-hime-jinja shrine(白山ひめ神社)yesterday after a long time. I usually parked my car at a parking lot near the main building, but yesterday I walked up the entrance path to the shrine.

  • after a long time 久しぶりに
  • parking lot 駐車場
  • entrance path 参道

When I stayed at a hotel about 20 years ago near Tsurugi-machi(鶴来町)where the shrine is, I heard several times a group of Tengu(天狗), a long-nosed goblin, beating drums around 2 a.m. when the moon was full. My wife wondered about it very much, too. But people living at the town didn’t seem to hear anything like that. Listening to the sound of drums, I felt that we were welcomed by spirits living in Mt.Hakusan(白山).

  • beat 打つ
  • drum 太鼓
  • wonder 不思議に思う
  • welcome 歓迎する

Their drumming technique is exquisite. They hit the wooden edge of the drum at minute intervals exquisitely. The interval is far too minute for humans. I heard that  some bridges and rock walls with the name of Tengu do exist.

  • exquisite 絶妙な
  • minute 細かい
  • interval 間隔
  • exist 存在する

Recently, unfortunately, it has become hard to feel the existence of Tengu, a kind of natural spirit, at this area too. I think this is because a lot of mountains were leveled for the construction of a school building of a graduate school of high technology near the area.

  • recently 最近は
  • unfortunately 残念ながら
  • level 崩す
  • construction 建設
  • graduate school 大学院
  • high technology 先端技術

Mt. Hakusan has been a sacred place for Shugendo(修験道), Japanese mountain asceticism, since ancient times. Eiheiji-temple(永平寺), one of the head temples of Zen, has adopted climbing up the mountain as an ascetic traing even now.

  • sacred 神聖な
  • asceticism 修行
  • ancient times 古代
  • head temple 本山
  • adopt 採用する

It often happens that after a practitioner of austerities who loved Hakusan or people who benefited from the nature of Hakusan died, they appear as a form of Tengu to protect the mountain and repay an obligation out of their love for it.

  • practitioner of austerity 修行者
  • benefit 恩恵を受ける
  • protect 守る
  • repay an obligation 恩返しをする

The world of Tengu had been divided into various kinds and levels of groups until Showa Era. Now that it’s “the Age of the Sun” of Heisei-Period, the world of Tengu spirits has been disappearing, too. With this, in some areas, mountains and forests have been dying and the water currents have been decreasing. There seems to be an important relationship between natural spirits in the nature and its ecological balance.

  • divide A into B AをBに分ける
  • various 様々な
  • disappear 消える
  • decrease 減る
  • relationship 関係
  • ecological 生態系の

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.