Jun 26, 2012

21景 芝愛宕山 View 21 Mount Atago in Shiba


This is the view from the top of Mt. Atago near Zojoji-temple.
The mountain is not so high, only 26 meters above sea level.
On top of it is Atago Shrine.

愛宕山 Mt.Atago

Though the mountain is not so high, people in the Edo period could enjoy a nice view of the city and the sea beyond it, as there were no high buildings in those days.  Look at the blue sea and those peaceful white sails.


But the first thing we notice in this Hiroshige's picture is the strange looking man in the front.  Right?
He is wearing a strange helmet; an upside-down basket decorated with a daidai-orange, Konbu-seaweed, and such things.  Those are the things we decorate Kagami-mochi for the New Year's Day. He is holding a wooden pestle for a sward and a big, big rice scoop.


This is a man who is just coming back up the steps to the shrine  after the ritual called Gohan Shiki (Rice Meal Ceremony) at the adjoining temple, Enpuku-ji down the mountain.  The ritual was held on January 3 every year.  At Enpuku-ji, he forced the priests there to eat a heap of rice.  This ritual, Gohan Shiki is still held at Rinno-ji temple in Nikko(in April).  But not at the Atago-shrine any more.


So, I went to Atago Shrine.


The steps to the shrine is called "Steps for Success".  Why?


Here's the story.  In 1634, when the third Shogun Iemitsu was on his way back from Zojoji-temple, he came by this mountain.  It was the early spring.  On the mountain, he saw plum-trees in bloom.  He ordered his men to get him its branch.  His men, on their horses, all hesitated because the steps were so steep to climb on their horses.  One would be dead if he fell.  Then one Samurai darted off.  The Shogun asked who it was.  It was Magaki Heikuro, an unknown Samurai from Marugame clan.  He safely brought back a branch to Shogun.  Shogun praised him of his horse-riding skill, and he became a hero overnight.

平九郎になれます、あるいは馬にもね。You can be a hero, or a horse.


Hmm...the steps look steep!                                                                  


On its side, they also have Women's Steps, which look more gentle.


But of course, I had to go for Success Steps!
I climbed up carefully.  It was kind of scary.  
(By the way, you are not supposed to walk in the middle of the steps.  Spare it for Gods.)


Phew!  I am on top of the steps.
たっかいですね! It looks so high.

I learned from the shrine's website that three men tried and succeeded to climb up these steps on their horses in 1882, 1925 and 1982.  How dare they could!  


Atago Shrine was built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

丹塗りの門 a gate to the main shrine
社殿 Main Shrine
灯りがいい雰囲気です nice atmosphere
池とボートと鯉 A pond, a boat and hungry Koi fish
お守りを置いたカウンターで猫が寝ていました A cat in the middle of Omamori,


It's a shame I couldn't have a man with a basket on his head in my picture, but this is how it looks now.


Even in winter, without those green trees, I don't think I can see the sea from here.
But still, this shrine on a little mountain was a peaceful oasis in a big city. 

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 国際交流へ


キヤラメル said...

愛宕神社 それを見た瞬間、上尾市にもあったことに気がつきました。インターネットで検索したら沢山ありました。「出世の階段」は、登りたくもあり、登りたくもなしの状態です。いつも、歴史の勉強をさせていただいています。それに、初めてハサミを見て、感心しました。

Merry Witch said...