Diary on a Trip to Ise and Mt. Hakusan – PART 10


I got back home from Ise, thinking that I could be relaxed staying at home on holidays. Though I had spent three days in Ise on business,  I wasn’t tired at all. On the contrary, I was full of energy. During the business trip, I visited about 50 shrines, including small ones, with gratitude. At the shrines on the last day, just putting my hands together made me full of feelings of gratefulness. I came to be able to visit them with gratitude unconsciously.

  • get back home  家に帰る
  • on the contrary それどころか
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • put A together Aを合わせる

On the next day, taking a rest after putting Kenbarai-fuda(剣祓札, a kind of talisman of shitoizm) of Geku(外宮), Naiku(内宮) and Izougu(伊雑宮) in my household shinto altar, I was asked by family members to take them for a drive to Mt. Hakusan(白山). At first, I was reluctant, for I had just driven as many as 1000 kilometers. But my families insisted on it, so I decided to go there the next day, thinking that I couldn’t complete this trip to Ise without going to Mt.Hakusan for sure.

  • take a rest 一息つく
  • household shinto altar 神棚
  • at first 最初は
  • reluctant   いやいやな
  • insist 主張する
  • complete 完成させる
  • for sure 確かに

Firstly, I visited Heisenji-Hakusan shrine(平泉寺白山神社), which I visited after a long time. The green mos covering the shrine that survived the harsh, long winter was beautiful. The precincts of the shrine had been cleaned up by local people on the day I visited. The shrine was so spiritually clean that I could pray at it smoothly.

  • after a long time 久しぶりに
  • mos 苔
  • survive 生き残る
  • harsh 厳しい
  • precinct 境内

Then next, I headed for Hakusan-Chukyo shrine(白山中居神社). The prefectural road on the way was narrow and since I saw some fallen rocks on the road that must’ve fallen from a cliff on the left side, I drove carefully. My car navigation system didn’t tell me exactly where the shrine was located, but I managed to reach it on instinct.

  • prefectrural 県の
  • narrow 狭い
  • cliff 崖
  • exactly 正確に
  • manage to~ どうにかして〜する
  • instinct 本能

I stopped my car in the parking lot in front of the shrine and looked up the huge trees on both sides of the approach leading to the main building of the shrine. I saw two Tengus(天狗)protecting the shrine on the tree tops. I hadn’t seen such a shrine for a long time. As in Tamaki Shrine(玉置神社) in Nara prefecture, Tengus, being a nature spirit, disappear from shrines as the traffic around them gets heavy and noisy.

  • parking lot 駐車場
  • huge 巨大な
  • approach 参道
  • traffic 交通


When you visit such a shrine where Tengus keep an eye out for intruders, you had better not take any insulting and disrespectful act. Thinking “I must get hurt if I’m not serious enough,” I told my families to walk slowly and watch their steps.

  • keep an eye out for A  Aを見張る
  • had better not~ 〜しない方が良い
  • insulting 侮辱的な
  • disrespectful   無礼な
  • get hurt 怪我をする

I found a huge rock in the middle of the approach, when I saw a vision in my mind that, when a man with a disrespectful mental attitude intruded into the precincts, a long long time ago though,  a Tengu threw the huge rock at the man and he was squashed by it. Thinking that his bones must’ve been under the rock, I gazed at it on bended knees together with my families.

  • in the middle of A Aのど真ん中に
  • irrelevant 不適切な
  • squash 押しつぶす
  • gaze じっと見る

The approach descended abruptly and its stone steps were slippery because of spring water. In case you fall and hit your head on the ground, you’re sure to get seriously injured. So if you have weak legs, you should avoid the approach and instead take the path on the left side of the front guard gate that leads to the main building.

  • descend 下がる
  • slippery 滑り易い
  • spring water 湧き水
  • path 小道

We went on the approach, which looked as if it refused any visitor, and managed to get to the main building, where a chief priest of the shrine was preparing for a purification ceremony. A child, who seemed like his grandson, was following around him, with his tiny hands holding the priest’s Hakama(袴), a man’s formal divided skirt.

  • as if S+V まるでSがVするかのように
  • refuse 拒む
  • chief priest 神官
  • purification  祓い
  • grandson 孫息子

The priest had a great, dignified face.  It’s hard to explain but he had the same distinctive aura as that of an ascetic mountain priest. Then we climbed up the steep stone steps and finally stood in front of the main building.

To be continued.

  • dignified 威厳のある
  • aura 雰囲気
  • ascetic  苦行の
  • steep 険しい

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

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


Great Affinity between Easter Island and Tamaki Shrine


The other day, I saw a TV program introducing Moai statues as a World Heritage site. A footage of the place considered to have been the one for worshipping ancestral spirits was broadcast for a moment, when a magnificent drama came into my head. The drama was linked to a certain sacred place in Japan where an object of worship lies.

  • the other day 先日
  • Moai statue モアイ像
  • World Hetitage site 世界遺産
  • broadcast 放送する
  • maginifecent 壮大な
  • sacred 神聖な

At the place on Easter Island, there are large round stones buried half in the ground in close formation, where festivals for worshipping ancestral spirits are considered to have been held. There is a place that really looks like it at Tamaki shrine(玉置神社) at Totsukawamura(十津川村) of Nara prefecture.

  • bury 埋める
  • consider 考える
  • prefecture 県

When I visited Tamaki shrine in Showa period, I was surprised to see a lot of spirits of Tengu(天狗) guarding the shrine. I thought that there was no place in the world where Tengu, spirits of forests, were flying about in such a half-materialized form. Young children would have thought of them as humans.

  • fly about 飛び回る
  • materialize 物質化する

Walking the entrance path to the shrine in the dim light, I found that Tengu were observing me, flying around me momentarily. Some of them looked armed as if in the science fiction movie Predator.

  • entrance path 参道
  • dim 薄暗い
  • momentarily 瞬間的に
  • observe 観察する
  • armed 武装した

At present, however, it may be difficult to see Tengu there because a lot of power pylons stand in disorder and Kekkai(結界), a mystical barrier, has been destroyed. The entrance path is now bright and clean with pruned trees along it.

  • power pylon 鉄塔
  • mysitical barrier 結界
  • destroy 破壊する
  • prune 刈り込む

Franky, I don’t recommend that people in general visit such a place because it’s very dangerous if someone should profane such a sacred place. It’s so sacred that people should visit it silently and protect it. You had better not visit Tamaki shrine for sightseeing or out of mere curiosity. If you insist on visiting it, you should go there seriously with respect and gratitude toward the holy spirit, for you’d be watched over.

  • frankly 正直に言って
  • recommend 勧める
  • profane 不敬をする
  • sightseeing 観光
  • curiosity 好奇心
  • insist 言い張る
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち

At Tamaki shrine, you could see large round stones set in the same form as Easter Island. And in the forest behind the main building of the shrine, which is a forbidden area, lies a secret, undisclosed stone statue that conjures a moai statue.

  • forbidden 禁じられた
  • undisclosed 非公開の
  • conjure 想起させる

Also, the figure of Kongo-zaou-gongen(金剛蔵王権現)I saw and felt spiritually in Omine Mountains(大峰山系) a long time ago was just like a moai statue. I perceive that the model of the face of a Moai statue is the one of an upper-rank priest who lived on the legendary floating island, Mu, which used to be in the Pacific Ocean in ancient times.

  • upper-rank 高位の
  • ledengary 伝説の
  • floating island 浮島

It seems to me that, due to the disappearance of Mu, some of the people moved to Easter Island, Hawaii and Kii peninsula(紀伊半島) of Japan. The fact that the same kind of worship and spirituality have existed in both Easter Island and the region between Kumano(熊野) and Nara of Japan stirs up the imagination of a secret ancient history.

  • extinction 消滅
  • stir up A Aをかきたてる
  • imagination 想像

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

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

I am very grateful for keeping me/us alive.

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.




Questions and answers (17)-(19)


Question 17:

You said conflicts between groups of spirits in the World of the Dead are projected onto the World of Reality and can cause wars between countries. But wars, regional conflicts, ethnic conflicts now happening in this world are due to humans, right?  I think those conflicts are caused by our greed, ambitions, unpurified minds, grudges, hatred and so on. We can’t shift the responsibility for the conflicts to the World of the Dead or the World of Spirits, can we? Can it be said all the same that conflicts in the World of the Dead still have strong influence on the conflicts in this world ?

  • conflict 闘争
  • project 投影する
  • cause 引き起こす
  • war 戦争
  • regional conflict 地域紛争
  • ethnic conflict 民族紛争
  • be due to A Aが原因である
  • greed 貪欲
  • ambition 野心
  • unpurified 浄化されていない
  • grudge 恨み
  • hatred 憎しみ
  • and so on など
  • responsibility 責任
  • all the same それでもやはり
  • have influence on A Aに影響を与える


the World of Reality→the World of the Dead/ the World of Spirits/the World of Gods

the World of the Dead/ the World of Spirits/the World of Gods→the World of Reality

These dimensions are not one-way traffic but affect each other. In the future ahead, the World of Reality plays a main role, and becomes the source of all phenomena arising in all the dimensions. So from now on, human deeds might determine the destiny of God in a large sense.

  • dimension 次元
  • one-way traffic 一方通行
  • affect 影響を及ぼす
  • each other お互い
  • in the future ahead これからは
  • play a main role 主役になる
  • source 源
  • phenomena 現象
  • arise 生じる
  • from now on 今から
  • deed 行動
  • determine 決定する
  • destiny 運命
  • in a large sense 大きな意味で

Question 18:

Can we call any beings or souls who failed to come into this world with human bodies Kenzoku(眷属)? What is Kenzoku or Kenzokushin(眷属神)?

  • being 存在
  • fail to~ 〜することができない


Many of the Kenzoku are souls who lived in the past as a human being. They have served gods out of gratitude for a long time since they died because when they were human beings they received many benefits from the gods they worshiped. As for superordinate Kenzoku, they are often not the ones humans reincarnated but the ones who were separated from the energy of God and took on an individuality. Kenzoku can be said to have characters common to sprites or Shikigami(式神), an animate object to act as the sorcerer’s agent.

  • in the past 過去に
  • human being 人間
  • out of gratitude 恩返しに
  • receive 受け取る
  • benefit 恩恵
  • worship 崇拝する
  • as for A Aに関して言えば
  • superordinate 上位の
  • reincarnate 転生する
  • separate 分ける
  • take on A Aを帯びる
  • individuality 個性
  • character 性格
  • common  共通の
  • sprite 精霊
  • animate 生きている
  • object もの
  • sorcerer 魔術師
  • agent 代理

Also, Kenzoku are spiritual beings who take on various forms from age to age, such as dragons, foxes, Tengu(天狗), or long-nosed goblins, and demons. Most of them belong to the World of the Dead and are like agents acting on God’s behalf. But a new age has already begun when we don’t need Kenzoku any more.

  • form 形態
  • from age to age 時代時代で
  • demon 悪鬼
  • belong to A Aに属する
  • on one’s behalf 〜の代わりに
  • not…any more もう〜ない

Question 19:

Every time I see fog rising from a mountain, I feel like going into it. What do you think of fog ?

  • every time S+V SがVする度に
  • fog 霧
  • rise 上がる
  • feel like ~ing 〜したい気がする
  • What do you think of A ?  Aをどう思いますか?


Fog is like a spiritual “living thing”. In the case of too dense fog to walk down a road, if you pray or say ” Let me through” so that it disappears, it moves away in reaction to Kotodama, the spirit of language. Fog acts as Kenzoku to protect a deity of a mountain.

  • living thing 生き物
  • in the case of A Aの場合には
  • dense 濃い
  • too…to~ とても…なので〜することができない
  • pray 祈る
  • Let me through.  通して下さい
  • disappear 消える
  • in reaction to A Aに応じて
  • protect 守る
  • deity 神様