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Nakayama is in between Narita And Haneda International Airport

中山・下総・散歩道

Sengenjinja Shrine: The beliefs in Mt.Fuji and Fujizuka

Sengenjinaja Shrines are wonder-working shrines many Japanese faithfully have believed in, therefore there are over 1300 shrines in Japan.
The belief in Sengen is deeply connected to the belief in Mt.Fuji. The origin or the headquater of the sengen shrines is Sengentaisha Shrine on the foot of Mt.Fuji, in Fujinomiya city Sizuoka prefecture. The Shrine dedicated Mt.Fuji as Goshintai, the object of worship.
The god of Mt.Fuji is Sengen Gongen, and the god is identified with a female god, Konohanasakuyahime no mikoto, the grandmother of the Emperor Jinmu, the first emperor of Japan. The legend that she suffered a fire when she was delivering is matching the image of the volcano such as Mt.Fuji. Sengen Gongen is now called Sengen Okami, it is dedicated in Okumiya of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha on the top of Mt.Fuji.
The history of Sengen Taisha is very long, it has strated from the ancient ages. And it was appeared on Engishiki Shinmeicho, the list of the gods’ names in Engi era (901 - 923). According to The Sarashina Diary, As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, gods assemble to discuss peoples' fate on the summit of Mt.Fuji. In 1149, a priest, Matsudai, wrote copies of sutra and presented them to Mt.Fuji. In the middle ages, some paths starting from Sengentaisha Shrine up to Mt.Fuji were opened, climbers with white clothings had aimed for the summit of it, to climing up was to perform mountaineer asceticism. In Edo period, Fujiko, a religious association worshiping Mt.Fuji is organized by Kakugyou Hasegawa who had trained Buddhist ascetic practices in lava caves in the base of Mt.Fuji. Their purposes were to climb up and donate. Jikigyomiroku a leader of the Fujiko called out to farmers, craftsmen and merchants around Edo to develop the organization. Then many believers climbed and trained in the caves with the instructions by Oshi, the officiating priest. The Fujiko was spread among Kanto area where people could see Mt.Fuji. Besides, Fujizuka, a small mound like Mt.Fuji, were built in each areas by the believers since they believed that climbing up and praying them would be instead of climbing up and praying the real Mt.Fuji. There are many Fujizuka's remaining in Tokyo. So Sengenjinja Shrines has been spread around Kanto and Tokai area where people could see Mt.Fuji everyday life. On the other hands, there are few Sengenjinja Shrines in where people could not see it. But they have mountains which are named Fuji with their regions names on them. For example, Mt.Kaimondake in Kagoshima prefecture is called Satsuma Fuji, Mt.Rausudake in Shiretoko Hokkaido is called Shiretoko Fuji. Japanese honestly has believed wonder-working powers of Mt.Fuji and deeply loved it.
Sengenjinja Shrines are the symbol that show how Japanese love Mt.Fuji.
Moreover it was banned any female climbing up Mt.Fuji as the god of it was a female.
The elder sister of Konohanasakuyahime no mikoto, Iwanagahime no mikoto has been dedicated in Sengenjinja Shirine on the foot of Mt.Asamayama Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture.
Finally, Mt.Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan.


参考
国土交通省ホームページ
島田裕巳著「なぜ八幡神社が日本でいちばん多いのか」幻冬舎新書  
デジタル大辞林
明鏡国語辞典
ブリタニカ国際大百科
日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ)
世界大百科事典
ウィッキペディア