Today’s video will be a little special since it is actually the first video in a series of three. Indeed the famous shrine (jinja) Togakushi (Togakushi Shrine) in Nagano is spread across three main locations with each place hosting respectively, the main shrine the Togakushi-Chūsha (中社), the Togakushi-Hōkōsha (宝光社) and the Togakushi-Okusha (奥社). There are actually 2 more smaller shrines (the Hino-miko-sha and the Kuzuryu-sha is God) but they are not as majestic as the other ones and only matter in a purely spiritual way.
The three shrines are in fact separated, a distance of about 2km between each other, and are all located in the Togakushi village at the base of the Mount Togakushi (1,904m) in Nagano prefecture.
According to the legend, these shrines histories started in 210 B.C. but it is only in 684 that a temporary building was erected and we had to wait until 849 for the first monks to come and live there.
The shrines are related to an important story in Japanese mythology in which the Sun Goddess hid herself in a cave in Kyushu after her brother had misbehaved by bringing darkness to the world.
In order to get the sunlight back, the other divinities tried to lure the Sun Goddess out of the cave by performing gorgeous dance performances in front of her cave. As the Sun Goddess start to took a peek out, one of the divinities grabbed the cave’s stone door and threw it away to prevent her from hiding again. The stone door flew all the way to Togakushi in Nagano, which is also how the area got its name: Togakushi (戸隠) stands for “hiding door”.
Now you have the back story, today’s video will concentrate on the main shrine, the Togakushi-Chūsha (中社), while the next two will cover the Togakushi-Hōkōsha (宝光社) and the Togakushi-Okusha (奥社).