Atsuta Jingu, ranks in importance second only to the Great Shrine of Ise in Mie, which is the center of the Shinto religion in Japan, and draws over 9 million visitors a year to its gates. The shrine, located in Atsuta Ward of Nagoya City, dates back nearly 2,000 years, and is dedicated to the “Five Great Gods of Atsuta”, who are connected with the sacred sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi, or “The Grass Cutting Sword”.
The sword is one of the Three Imperial Regalia of Japan. According to the eighth Century compiled kojiki, the oldest extant chronicle of Japan, the god, Susanoo found the sword in the tail of an eight headed dragon he had slain. The sword was later presented to the goddess Amaterasu, and later presented to the warrior Yamato Takeru, who used it’s magical powers to cut his way out of a grass fire started by a treacherous enemy warlord, hence it’s moniker, the Grass Cutting Sword.
Walking Courses to Explore Atsuta Shrine
A great time to visit the shrine is June, for the main festival ccelebtating this very important shrine. During this matsri the local kami (gods) are carried in effigy round the shrine on ornate litters called a mikoshi, which is essentially a portable tabernacle. The mikoshi are carried along the approaches to Atsuta Shrine, and at night, sets of 365 traditional lanterns light up the gates. Exhibitions of judo, swordsmanship and archery are presented for the gratification of the deities.
More serious ceremonies also take place out of sight in the shrines themselves.
Rei-Sai Festival at Atsuta Shrine
Atsuta Jingu Festival 2016
June 5, 2016 (6th if rain)
The festival runs all day,
Fireworks from 19:40 -20:30
Image: By Nyotarou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons - Modified