Traditional Carvings in Yakumo Shrine

Yakumo Shrine (located toward the south-east of Kami-Numa Park along Route 407) is the subsidiary shrine of Hikawa Shinto Shrine (renamed as Matsuyama Shrine) and enshrined as the local shrine deity of old Matsuyama post town.

The summer festival is carried out as a regular festival for Tennou-Sama on the fourth Saturday and Sunday of July each year.
You may appreciate beautiful carvings in the main hall. Carvings of flowers, birds, dragons, Chinese lions are displayed in the front of the building.
At the side and the back of the building, there are carvings related to Japanese mythology, Ama no Iwato (cave of heaven) and Yamata no Orochi (a big snake with eight heads). The religious faith of this shrine is warding off evil spirits and forgetting the summer heat.

Ama no Iwato Legend

Ama no Iwato literally means "The cave of Sun Godess in Japanese mythology as related in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), the bad behavior of Susanoo (Storm God) drove his sister Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) into the Iwato cave.  The land was thus deprived of light.  In order to get Amaterasu out of the cave, the other Kami (Gods and Goddesses) called Yaoyorozu no Kami threw a party outside with wisdom of Omoikane. The goddess Ame no Uzume performed a lewd dance, eliciting much laughter.

Amaterasu grew curious about the source of such mirth and peeked out of the cave entrance. She became fascinated by her own reflection in the Yata no Kagami mirror which the other gods had crafted and hung before the cave for that purpose, and stood transfixed.  Ame no Tajikarao then forced the cave open and the world was bathed in light once again.As Amaterasu stepped out of the cave a holy seal was applied to it so that she could never go back into hiding.

There are some interpretations about the mythical story which tells that Amaterasu hid herself in the rock cave of heaven and the darkness fell on the world; one is that the story represents solar eclipses, and another is that it issymbolicofthesunrevivingits weal power after the winter solstice. 

Yamata no Orochi Legend

Yamata no Orochi (8-branched giant snake) legends are originally recorded in ancient Japanese mythology and history.  Susanoo, Storm god is expelled from Heaven for tricking his sister Amaterasu,Sun Goddess. After expulsion from Heaven, Susanoo encounters two "Earthly Deities" near the head of the Hii River in Izumo Province.  They are weeping because they were forced to give the Orochi one of their daughters every year for seven years, and now they must sacrifice their eighth, Kushi-inada-hime. Susanoo transforms into a kushi "comb" for safekeeping. Susanoo had Yashio-ori-no-sake which is liquor brewed eight times, brewed to defeat Yamata no Orochi and then Susanoo exterminated Yamata no Orochi finally.

The legendary sword Kusanagi-no-Tsurugicame from the tail of Yamata no Orochi, along with Yata no Kagami mirror and Yasakani no Magatama jewel or orb, are the three sacred Imperial Regalia of Japan. (Imperial Regalia of Japan)