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
. 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.