Kirishima Shrine: Private Worship in the Inner Sanctum
Japan’s Creation Myth
Kirishima Shrine is among the most important and revered shrines in Japan. Both Ninigi-no-Mikoto and his wife Konohanasakuya-hime are enshrined in Kirishima Jingu. A towering 800-year-old cedar tree rises above the shrine complex and the bright vermillion colour of the main shrine building stands out against the surrounding greenery of the forest behind.
Originally constructed in the 6th century, the shrine was destroyed by volcanic eruptions several times. The shrine was progressively moved further away from the volcanic crater, and its current iteration was built in 1715 by the lord of the Shimazu clan.
Head up into the mysterious mountains of Kirishima, which played a key part in the creation myth of Japan. This is where Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grandson of the Sun Goddess descended to earth bringing three treasures and founded the Imperial line of Japan. Find stunning volcanic crater lakes among the mountains shrouded in mist. Feel the raw mystical energy of nature in this spiritual volcanic region and its healing hot springs.
Enter the Inner Sanctum of Kirishima Shrine
Enter the most sacred inner sanctum of the shrine, a national treasure normally strictly inaccessible by the public. The head priest will perform a sacred Shinto rite to bless you for your continued growth and prosperity and good luck in seeking the spirit of the samurai.
Make a Formal Offering to the Kami
Perform a formal offering to the shrine with tamagushi (literally “jewel skewer”) made from a sakaki-tree branch decorated with shide strips of washi paper. You will receive instruction on how to make the offering before the ceremony begins.
Explore the Forest Shrine
Connect with nature at the lesser visited forest shrine behind the main shrine hall. Reflect on your experiences in Japan thus far and consider the influence of the natural environment on the development of the mentality and culture of the Satsuma samurai.
Follow the Route of Ninigi-no-Mikoto
Having paid your respects to Ninigi-no-Mikoto and Konohanasakuya-hime meet your expert adventure guide and begin a hike from Takachiho-gawara, site of the second iteration of Kirishima Jingu.
Pay your respects again at the former shrine site and begin the trek to the 1,500 meter summit of Takachiho-no-mine. Enjoy the volcanic landscape of the Kirishima region and vistas of the mountain range during the climb.
Having reached the top of the trail, pay your respects at the site where Ninigi first set foot on the Earth, and take some time to breathe in the atmosphere looking over the Kirishima mountain range.
Enjoy a bento lunch using locally harvested vegetables grown in the volcanic soil of the Kirishima region.
After lunch make a relaxed descent down the mountain, tracing the footsteps of Ninigi-no-mikoto, with renewed spiritual energy and vigor.