Hana no Iwaya Shrine [Mie]


Hana-no-iwaya Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, with a huge rocky hill that rises up close to the shore as its sacred body since ancient times. It is said to be the place where Izanami, the mother of Amaterasu and Susanoo-no-Mikoto, gave birth to Kakutsuchi-no-Mikoto, the god of fire, and was buried after she was burned to death. Since then, it is written that the residents of the neighborhood worshipped Izanami by offering seasonal flowers to him, which is said to be the reason for the name of the shrine, Hanagutsu, which means “the rock cave where flowers were offered and enshrined.

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Izanami-nomikoto is a goddess in Japanese mythology. She and her husband Izanaginomikoto created gods and a nation, and died in the middle of their divine birth. She lived in Yomi-no-kuni (the Land of Hades) and became a deity who dealt with the death of human beings (the Great Goddess of Hades). Therefore, it is said that this place is in contact with the Land of Hades.

Izanami also has another name, Kumano Daijin-sama, and is worshipped as the god of marriage, the first married couple to be united in Japan. In July 2004, “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” including Hana no Kutsu was registered as a World Heritage site.


Next to the Hana-no-Kutsu Shrine is the “Roadside Station Kumano Hana-no-Kutsu. Shichiri-Mihama in front of the road is a beautiful coastal area selected as a “World Heritage Site (Hama-kaido)” and one of the “100 Best Shorelines in Japan. In the past, it was called “Hama Kaido” for people making pilgrimages to Kumano, and was also called “Pilgrimage Road” because many pilgrims walked there to visit the 33 sacred places in the western part of Japan, and it served as a path of faith. On the coast, one can see various types of stones that arrived via the Kumano River.

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Since it is said that there is an everlasting world beyond the sea (in Buddhist terms, the world of the compensated), during the annual festival, a rope is drawn toward Shichirigahama beach (otsunagake ritual) in an attempt to connect with the everlasting gods and receive their blessings, and this place to connect with the gods is also Hana no Kutsu Shrine.


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As you proceed along the approach and pass by the sanctuary, a huge rock enshrining Izanami no Mikoto comes into view. 45 meters high, the huge rock is overwhelmingly large when you look up at it from below. The 45-meter-high giant rock is overwhelmingly large when seen from below.

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It is said that the burial site of Izanami no Mikoto (Izanami no Mikoto) is the shade of a large depression called “Hottoana” (a hole in the rock), 6 meters high, 2.5 meters wide and 50 centimeters deep, at the foot of the huge rock that is the sacred body of the deity. It somehow looks like the shape of a person seen from the side…

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If you look above, you will see three banners woven with rope, which are called “minagare-no-hata” (banners of three streams). At Hana-no-Kutsu, an annual festival is held twice a year. After dedicating a dance to the gods, a 170-meter long rope, said to be the longest in Japan, is passed from a height of 45 meters above the rock cave to a pine tree in the southern corner of the shrine grounds. This “rope hanging ritual” has been performed since ancient times and has been designated as an “intangible cultural event” by Mie Prefecture.

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It is written that every year on the day of the Hana-no-Kutsu festival, a “brocade banner” was offered by the Imperial Court, but this was swept away by a flood of the Kumano River one year, and has since ceased to exist.

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At the sanjo-den, visitors can receive awards and red seals. There are also photos of the tug of war ceremony and past festivals, so I was able to spend some quality time even while waiting for the red seal.

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I think it is also a cat owned by this shrine, and if you are lucky, it will play with you.

【Hana no Iwaya Shrine GOSHUIN】

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Manager’s Comments

The precincts of the shrine are not very large, but the vegetation near the coast helps to make it a mysterious place. A huge rock is the sacred body of the shrine, so I felt the great power of nature. There is a roadside station and a convenience store near the shrine, making it a must stop on a trip to Kumano.

my opinion

Hana no Iwaya Shrine

130 Arima-cho, Kumano-shi, Mie 519-4325

Parking available (Roadside Station Kumano, Hana no Kutsu)

About 15 minutes walk from JR Kumanoichi Station

About 12 minutes walk from JR Arii Station

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