Matsunoo Taisha


Matsunoo Taisha 松尾大社 Matsunoo Grand Shrine
Matsuno'o Taisha - Matsu-no-o
Matsunoo Jinja 松尾神社 Matsunoo Shrine (former name)

3 Arashiyamamiya-chō, Nishikyō-ku, Kyoto / 京都府京都市西京区嵐山宮町3

The characters, usually read Matsuo 松尾, here are read as まつのお / まつのを matsu no o

Matsunō Daimyōjin 松尾大明神 The Great Matsunoo Deity


This shrine is known as a sacred place for 酒 Sake Rice wine, 松尾様 Matsuo Sama, 松尾神 Matsuo no Kami -
referring to the shrine complex name to honor the deity.

The first sake in Japan has been introduced in the region of Nara, to prepare ritual miki 神酒
for the shrine and purification rituals.

- - - - - Offerings of sake barrels from the breweries.

CLICK for more photos !

- quote -
Sake and Japanese Culture
The god of sake was also the god of rice growing and harvesting. So when the people prayed for good growing conditions and thanked the god for a good harvest, they connected with the god of sake. Sake linked the people to their gods, and then linked people together in congeniality. In this way, sake took on a vital role in religious festivities, agricultural rites, and many different ceremonial events, from marriages to funerals.
. . . Sake is more than a drink taken to enjoy a tipsy time—it also serves a vital social purpose at the defining moments in life.
- quote by Takeo Koizumi -

. sake 酒 saké, saki - Japanese rice wine .
- Introduction -

. jizake 地酒 local brands of rice wine .

The religious use of sake (o-miki お神酒)
In the word o-miki, the reading "ki" is assigned to the character for sake. As such, the final meaning would again be akin to "the sake that helps one prosper," but perhaps this time there is a bit more of a religious association. Linguistically, sakae-no-ki changed to sakae-no-ke, sakae-ke and sake-ke before arriving at the vernacular manifestation we use today.

- - - - - To make sake, first you need good rice - - - - -

Imperial Rituals in Japan
The Emperor, embodying the god of the ripened rice plant, plants the first rice of the spring and harvests rice from the plants of the autumn. In one of the most solemn Shinto ceremonies of the year the Emperor, acting as the country's chief Shinto priest, ritually sows rice in the royal rice paddy on the grounds of the Imperial Palace.

. The Japanese Rice Culture 稲 ine, the rice plant .

. Ise Jingū 伊勢神宮 and the Rice Culture of Japan .
Ise no o-taue 伊勢の御田植 planting rice at Ise Shrine

. Inari Ōkami 稲荷大神 Protector Deity of the Rice Harvest .

- - - - - Second
for a good sake, tasty water is also a necessity given by the deities of Japan.
Water, well water, spring water of Japan 日本の水 - 水の神様 

- - - - - Third
kooji 麹 Aspergillus oryzae, Sake koji, for fermentation

Steamed rice and koji (rice cultivated with koji mold, technically known as aspergillus oryzae) are first mixed with yeast to make a yeast starter, in which there is a very high concentration of yeast cells. After that, more rice, koji, and water are added in three batches over four days.
This mash is allowed to sit from 18 to 32 days, after which it is pressed, filtered and blended.
- source : John Gauntner


- - - - - Now back to the shrine ! - - - - -

CLICK for more photos !

Matsuo Taisha, sometimes known as Matsu no o taisha
, is an interesting ancient shrine on the outskirts of Kyoto that offers a little more to see and do than most of the often visited shrines in the area. It is also less crowded.

Located near Arashiyama, it was founded in 701, almost 100 years before the founding of Kyoto. It was founded by the head of the Hata clan, an immigrant clan that ruled the area before the moving of the capital from Nara. The Hata also founded the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and temple Koryu-Ji.

The Hata were instrumental in bringing sake brewing techniques from Korea,
and the shrine has a deep and long association with sake brewers, who still take water from the
sacred well Kame no I 亀の井, the Well of the Turtle / Tortoise , located in the precincts behind the waterfall Reiki no Taki.
The water causes longevity and revival and is also used for Miso paste production.
So the sake brewers and miso makers come here to pray and bring their offerings.

CLICK for more photos !

. The Hata Clan 秦氏 Hata Uji .
and the Korean and Christian connection

- quote -
Since the time the Hata clan founded the shrine, the Honden, or the main shrine building, has been through several reconstructions, and the present one was built in 1397 and repaired in 1542 during the Muromachi period. Because of its unique style of roof, which is called Matsuo-zukuri, or Matsuo style, the Honden has been designated as an important cultural property.

Shofu-en 松風苑
Shofu-en has three famous gardens: Iwakura, Horai and Kyokusui. These gardens were designed by Mirei Shigemori during the Showa era. They are not so old but are among the greatest of the works made after the Meiji era. He designed them with a combination of rocks, and the opposite ideas of “stillness” and “movement” are harmonized well.

Iwakura Garden 磐座 (The ancient era style) Joko Garden 上古の庭
This garden was made to be the spiritual place for the god of Mt. Matsuo. Two main boulders symbolize the god and the goddess who are enshrined in this shrine. Other rocks around them represent dieties dependent on the main ones.

Horai Garden (Kamakura era style) 蓬莱の庭
The Kaiyu style, which you can enjoy by walking around the garden, is used here, and there are islands in the pond. In this garden, we can imagine a place where an unworldly man lives. It is said that this garden expresses Horai ideas, which include a longing for a world where people will not grow old and die.

Kyokusui Garden (Heian era style) 曲水の庭
The Heian era, when Matsunoo Grand Shrine was most prosperous, is the theme of this garden. Water channels its way along the foot of a hill, curving seven times, and there are many glaucous (light blue and green) rocks on the hill. The design is simple, but its color scheme is unique.
- source : thekyotoproject.org


- quote -
It is said that during the move of the capital from Nagaoka to Kyoto, a noble saw a turtle(kame) bathing under the spring's waterfall and created a shrine there. It is one of the oldest shrines in the Kyoto area, its founding extending back to 700 AD. The restorative properties of the spring bring many local sake and miso companies to the shrine for prayers that their product will be blessed.

The shrine also serves a kinpaku (gold leaf filled) miki (or blessed sake) during hatsumode first shrine visit in the New Year.
- source : wikipedia


- - - - - Deities in residence

Ooyama kui no kami, Oyamakui no Kami 大山咋神 (くいのかみ) Kui no Kami, Oyamagui no Kami, Oo-yamagui-no-kami おおやまぐいのかみ
- - - - - and
Ichi kishima hime no mikoto, Ichikishima Hime no Mikoto
市杵島姫命 / 一杵島姫の命(いちきしまひめのみこと)
also known as 中津島姫命 Nakatsushima Hime no Mikoto, a female deity protecting travellers.
- - - - - and
Tsukiyomi no mikoto 月読命

The deity Ôyamagui no kami, better known as Sanoo, 山王 "Mountain King", is enshrined at the shrine Hie Jinja in Shiga Prefecture and in other Hie shrines throughout Japan. The term dates back to the Buddhist priests at temple Enryaku-Ji on Mount Hiei in Kyoto, who worshiped this "god of the mountain".

. Sanno, Sanoo 山王 the "Mountain King" .
and Hiyoshi Taisha 日吉大社 Hiyoshi taisha

中津島姫命 Nakatsushima hime no mikoto

. Ichikishima Hime no Mikoto 杵島比売命 .
One of the three deities that will bring beauty.
Utsukushi Gozen Sha 美御前社

Tsukiyomi no mikoto 月読命
- quote -
Other names: Tsuki no kami (Nihongi), Tsukiyomi no mikoto,
Tsukiyumi no mikoto (Nihongi).
The second of Izanagi and Izanami's "three noble children," and usually considered a male kami with rule over the night. The name tsuku-yomi is thought to be originally related to the lunar calendar, and refers to the "reading" (yomu) of the phases of the "moon" (tsuki). According to Kojiki and an "alternate writing" in Nihongi, Tsukuyomi came into being when Izanagi washed his right eye as he was undergoing ablution. Tsukuyomi was entrusted by Izanagi with rule variously over the sea (Nihongi) or over the realm of night (Kojiki). In the main account of Nihongi, Tsukuyomi is produced jointly from Izanagi and Izanami, and is entrusted to the sky as a complement to the sun kami. In another "alternate writing" related by Nihongi, Tsukuyomi comes into being from the white copper mirror held in Izanagi's right hand. These accounts of the kami's genesis, involving the juxtaposition of left eye to right eye, left hand to right hand, and sun to moon, tend to agree with the interpretation of Tsukuyomi as a male counterpart to Amaterasu, who is commonly considered female.

In Kojiki, Tsukuyomi does not appear again after the anecdote regarding his birth, but an "alternate writing" in Nihongi relates that Tsukuyomi originally resided together with Amaterasu in heaven, but after killing the kami of foods Ukemochi, he was condemned by Amaterasu as an "evil kami" and forced to live apart from the sun, resulting in the separation of day and night.

Nihongi's record of Emperor Kensō includes an episode in which a human medium delivers an oracle of the moon kami stating that land should be offered to the kami Takamimusuhi. The fact that the aforementioned "alternate writing" transmitted by Nihongi describes Tsukuyomi as ruler of the sea and killer of the food deity Ukemochi gives him characteristics in common with the kami Susanoo; in consideration of the theme of the killing of the food deity and the relation of the moon to harvest in the lunar calendar, Tsukuyomi can be considered a tutelary of agriculture.

Tsukuyomi is the object of worship (saijin) at the detached shrine (betsugū) Tsukuyomi no Miya of the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū), as well as at several shrines listed in the Engishiki (see shikinaisha) in the Yamashiro and Ise areas.
- source : Mori Mizue - Kokugakuin 2005


shuin 朱印 stamp of the shrine

o-sake お酒に関するお守り -  3 amulets related to sake
服酒守 - for sake drinkers
お酒を醸る人 - for sake brewers
お酒の販売に関わるお守り for sake sellers

omamori お守り - click for more amulets

Matsunoo Taisha Shrine
Matsunoo Taisha Shrine, familiarly known as Matsuo-san, is the dominant Shinto shrine in the western part of Kyoto, and serves residents of Nishikyo-ku, Ukyoku, Shimogyo-ku and Minami-ku : about one third of Kyoto's population.

Unlike most shrines, it features a massive outer gate with two guardian deities, and among its other treasures are three of the oldest and best-preserved solid wood carved images, presumably representing the three enshrined deities:
Oo-yamagui-no-kami (male), Nakatsu-shima-hime-no-mikoto (female), and Tsukiyomi-no-mikoto (male).
These statues alone are worth a visit, and along the way one passes through various gardens and can visit the numinous waterfall tricking down from Mount Matsuo (also known as Wakeikazuchi no Yama).

It is said that a lord of the Hata clan was riding in the area and saw a tortoise in the stream at the foot of the waterfall.
From that time worship started. Matsuo Shrine was founded in 701 c.e., making it one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. It was influential in the move of the capital to Nagaoka-kyo and then to Heian-kyo (present day Kyoto).

Tortoises have long been revered in China, Korea, and Japan as emblems of good fortune, particularly long life and good health. The water from this spring is said to be healthful, and the shrine is visited both by ordinary people to get good water and its benefits and by manufacturers of miso paste and sake brewers, who pray for the success of their enterprises.
Throughout the precincts one will see figures of tortoises, the most famous of which is the Kame-no-I, Tortoise Well, near the entrance to the first garden.

The three gardens were built in the Showa era (1975) at great expense and personal effort by Mr. Mirei Shigemori.
- snip -
The shrine complex's oldest building, the inner shrine, dates back to the Muromachi period (1397) and is famous for its unusual roof, which is known as Matsuo-zukuri (Matsuo style) and has been designated an important cultural asset.
On any given day, individuals, families, and businesspeople visit to pray for happiness, health, long life, prosperity, safety, and other wishes.
- source : www.matsunoo.or.jp - english

- Homepage of the Shrine
京都市西京区嵐山宮町3 - Matsunoo-Taisha
- source : www.matsunoo.or.jp


source : wikipedia

Kyogen: Fuku no Kami 福の神 "The Happiness Deity"

- reference -


- quote -
the venerable Nichizo and Tenjin Sugawara Michizane
. . . once Nichizo prayed at the shrine of the god of Matsunoo to know which Buddha the god came from.
There was a violent thunderstorm and darkness fell. Then a voice from inside the sanctuary said,
"The Buddha Bibashi".
The awed Nichizo went forward and came before an ancient man who had the face of a child.

Japanese Tales - By Royall Tyler
- source : books.google.co.jp

Bibashi Butsu 毘婆尸佛 = Matsunō Daimyōjin 松尾大明神
In Buddhist tradition, Vipassī Vipaśyin (Pāli) is the twenty-second of twenty-eight Buddhas described in Chapter 27 of the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a Buddhist text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the twenty-seven Buddhas who preceded him. It is the fourteenth book of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three pitakas (main sections) which together constitute the Tripiṭaka, or Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Bibashi Butsu 毘婆尸佛


- Matsunoo Grand Shrine (also known as Matsuo Grand Shrine)
This shrine is the oldest shrine in Kyoto, and the divinity worshipped here is a god of brewing sake. Throughout the year, more than a thousand people who are engaged in brewing sake visit Matsunoo Grand Shrine. There is also a famous well, Kame-no-I, as well as three gardens, and the treasury and Honden have been designated as important cultural properties.

Sake-no-Shiryokan (Museum of Sake)
Since Matsunoo Grand Shrine has housed a god of sake from ancient times, it is believed that sake brewed with water from here will bring people happiness and prosperity. In the Museum of Sake,we can see the tools used in brewing sake that were donated by sake brewers, and also we can learn about the tradition and history of sake.
- source : Maki Mizobata; Natsuki Mitsuya


- - - - - Yearly Festivals - - - - -

Oshogatsu (New Year's) attracts the biggest crowds, but there are many others : Matsuo Matsuri, when six huge and richly ornamented mikoshi (portable shrines) are carried through the streets to the Katsura River and ferried across, where they will enjoy a sojourn on the other side of the river before returning, again with great merriment, three weeks later on Omatsuri (Okaeri), Ondasai, a rice-protective rite in mid-July ;
Hassakusai (first Sunday in September), to pray for wind and rain to insure a bountiful crop of the "five grains" (rice, wheat, beans, and two kinds of millet), with sumo tournaments and the Yamabuki Kai (women's mikoshi, which goes from the shrine to Arashiyama and back).
Originally all such festivals were held on certain traditional dates, but with urbanization have come changes, so that now the major festivities are scheduled for Sundays.
- source : www.matsunoo.or.jp - english

- - - - -

松尾大社(まつおたいしゃ) (Reisai Matsuo Taisha, Matsu no O Shrine)
April 2
The deity of the shrine is known as a God of Japanese sake.
Visitors can enjoy a Kyogen performance by the Shigeyama Family and a Noh performance by the Kongo School.

Matsunoo omatsuri oide 松尾祭御出 まつのおまつりおいで
Come to the Matsunoo Festival

- - - - -

CLICK for more photos

Kangetsu Matsuri, kangetsumatsuri 観月祭
Moon Viewing Festival
On the Full Moon night in September or October

With a great performance of drums and other classical music and
an autumn moon viewing haiku meeting
観月 俳句大会.

The three gardens are lit up also.

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 Haiku Poet


Matsu-no-o Taisha (松尾大社, Matsunoo Grand Shrine)
at the foot of Mt. Matsuo (松尾山) in Kyoto. Matsu-no-o Taisha was founded in 701 by Hata-no-Imikitori (秦忌寸都理) who was the leader of immigrant clan Hata-uji (秦氏, Hata clan) at the era, enshrining O-yama-gui-no-kami (大山咋神) as the Hata-uji's comprehensive and tutelary deity (総氏神).

In the legend, O-yama-gui-no-kami descended on a huge rock at the top of Mt. Matsuo at an ancient time, and the rock had been the religious site for local residents since then (usually this kind of holy rock is called Iwakura (磐座)). In 701, Hata-no-Imikitori built the shrine at the current location and transferred the deity's soul there. This is considered as the process of transformation of Shinto from ancient style to modern style by Hata-uji, and this is why Hata-uji is recognized as the important clan who formulated Shinto.

- Shared by Taisaku Nogi -
Joys of Japan, 2012


The shrine grounds are home to 3,000 rose bushes which are in bloom during April and May.

About 30 years ago, the famous landscape designer and painter, Mirei Shigemori, built (at great expense) three gardens at the shrine, the Iwakura Garden, in ancient style, the Horai Garden, in Kamakura era style, and the Kyokusui Garden, in Heian era style.
They are considered some of the best modern gardens in Japan.
source : www.japanvisitor.com

. Shigemori Mirei 重森 三玲 Mirei Shigemori (1896-1975) .


kaiun sake 開運酒 Sake for your Good Luck

- source : kaiunsake.com


亀の井酒造 Kamenoi Sake Brewery

- source : Kamenoi Shuzo in Yamagata Prefecture


. Jindaisugi 神代 杉 
"Pine of the Gods" sacred sake 御神酒 omiki, o-miki .

shrine Tamaki Jinja 玉置神社 - Totsukawa Village, Yoshino County, Nara Prefecture


- Reference : 松尾大社

- Reference : English

. Shrine, Shinto Shrine (jinja 神社) - Introduction .

The farmhouse is a temple between the fields and the woods.
The fields stand for the work of cultivation, the woods are untamed nature.
. ta no kami 田の神さま Deity of rice fields .
in autumn it turns to
yama no kami 山の神 Deity of the Mountains
noogami 農神 / ノウガミ様 - obosuna sama オボスナ様 / おぼすな様 Ubusuna deity
deity for agriculture, especially the rice fields and sake rituals.


- - - - - More shrines with strong connections to sake

Saka Jinja 佐香神社 in Izumo - Matsuō Shrine
島根県出雲市小境町108 / 110 Kozakaicho, Izumo, Shimane

CLICK for more photos of this sake shrine !

- quote -
Doburoku Sake Festival at Saka-jinja Shrine (Matsuo-jinja Shrine) in Kozakai Town

On October 13th, Saka-jinja Shrine held a festival to celebrate the birthday of Kusu-no-kami, the god of sake (Japanese rice wine) brewing.

Despite the heavy winds and torrential downpour brought by typhoon 19, many people attended the festival. On this day, festival-goers come to the shrine grounds and pray to Kusu-no-kami. Once they are spiritually cleansed by washing their hands and mouth, they don white robes that signify their purity and are then allowed to drink the doburoku sake, which is a type of sacred sake now considered to be a part of the local culture of Izumo. One of the unique traits of this sake is that the softened grains of rice are not removed before serving, making the drink itself look very similar to soupy rice porridge.

We had the opportunity to speak with the very friendly head priest of the shrine and learned that the doburoku sake is made of locally grown Yamada-nishiki rice (a strain of rice that is used by top sake brewers) grown in a nearby rice field.

The chance to try doburoku sake comes only once a year at the Doburoku Sake Festival on October 13th, so mark your calendars and visit next year if you have the chance!
- source : facebook

- quote -
Shimane, the Birthplace of Sake
- snip - during Kami-ari-zuki, when the gods have all gathered at Izumo Taisha, they enjoy drinking sake together. This can be traced back to another connection between mythology and sake in a story found in the Izumo-no-kuni Fudoki. One of the functions of this text was to give the origins of location names, and for the origin of an area named Saka, it gives the following story:

Long ago, a great number of gods gathered along the banks of a river in this area, and set up a kitchen to prepare food and drink. Then they made sake, and spent the next 180 days drinking, after which they went their separate ways. The term used to describe this is sakamizuki, and from that word, the area got its name of Saka.

That place is now Kozakai-cho in the Hirata area of Izumo City. Through the years, the place name changed several times, but the character for sake was often used. A small shrine in the area, Saka Shrine, preserves the original place name, which is another way the character for sake is pronounced. The shrine also goes by the name Matsuo Shrine, which is the name used for shrines throughout the country that enshrine the deity of sake brewing, Kusu-no-kami.

- - - - - Read more :
- source : www.japanesemythology.jp

Kusu no kami 久斯之神(くすのかみ)
another name for

. Sukunahikona Mikoto 少彦名命 / 少名毘古那神 Sukuna Hikona, Sukuna-Bikona .


. Hibita Jinja 比々多神社 .
1472 Sannomiya, Isehara, Kanagawa

. Sakaori no Miya 酒折宮 .
Kofu 甲府市の東部


Oomiwa Jinja 大神神社(おおみわじんじゃ)Omiwa Jinja
Sake no Kamisama 酒の神様 The Deity of Sake
In ancient documents, miki is also called miwa, and the deity Miwa no kami 三輪の神 is thus famous as the kami who presides over sake.
also known as Miwa Shrine, is a Shinto shrine located in Sakurai, Nara, Japan.
- source : gekkeikan.co.jp

. Shrine Omiwa Jinja 大三輪神社 .
- Introduction -

. shinshi 神使 the divine messenger .
of Matsunoo Taisha is kame 亀 a turtle.
and of Oomiwa Jinja it is hebi 蛇 the snake.

God of chief brewer of Sake brewery-Ikuhi Shrine
Why Miwa is being called as the birthplace of Sake? The answer can be found from the description in chronicles of Japan.
Ikuhinomikoto Takahashi 「高橋活日命(たかはしいくひのみこと」 
此の神酒は 我が神酒ならず 倭なす 
大物主の 醸みし神酒 幾久幾久」

"This Sake for God is not made by me
but it is made by deity of who creates Japan.
The glorious will last even after few generations."

- source : imanishisyuzou.com -


Oosake Jinja 大酒神社 Osake Jinja - 大辟(おおさけ)神社、大酒明神
Deities in residence
秦始皇帝、弓月王、秦酒公 兄媛命、弟媛命(呉織女、漢織女)
- source : bell.jp/pancho

. Konohana sakuya hime 木花之佐久夜毘売 .
godess of Sake (and Mount Fuji)


- - - - -  H A I K U  - - - -

There are shines named - - - Matsuo Jinja 松尾神社

dedicated to the haiku poet
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 Haiku Poet


Condensed Guide to Sake-Related Gods, Shrines, Rites, and Festivals
by Mark Schumacher and Gabi Greve - (tba)

Sake 酒 -- known as Nihonshu 日本酒 or rice wine.
In olden days, sake was produced in the shrine’s Sakadono 酒殿 (wine hall). At religious ceremonies, the communal partaking of Miki 神酒 (another name for sake) is called Naorai 直会. The Naoraiden 直会殿 (or Noraidono 直会殿 or Gesaiden 解斎殿) is the name of the shrine building where priests retire after offering food and drink to the gods.
Various types of ritual sake -- e.g., Shiroki 白酒 (light) and Kuroki 黒酒 (dark) -- are typically presented as offerings at important festivals (such as the Niinamesai and Daijosai festivals). According to the Engi Shiki 延喜式 (Procedures of the Engi Era, 901 - 923 AD), divination was performed prior to production to determine what rice to use, and from what region to harvest. Dark sake was often made by mixing in the ashes of the Kusaki 草木 (type of arrowroot) or Utsugi 空木 (Deutzia scabra).

Inside the Shrine - Shintō Concepts, What’s What
. Mark Schumacher .

. Sake 酒 rice wine for rituals and festivals .

. Yokai Sake 妖怪 酒 and local monster legends .





Gabi Greve said...

shiro mamushi 白蝮 white viper
This animal is also called オハッスン Ohassun.
It is the messenger of the deity and thus never hunted.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Miyazaki 宮崎県 東臼杵郡 Higashi-Usuki district 諸塚村 Morotsuka village
At the stone lantern near the torii 鳥居 gate of the Shrine 愛宕神社 Atago Jinja there lives hebi 蛇 a serpent as 神の使い the messenger of the Deity.