Basic Terms of Shinto

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Saifuku[Glossary: saifuku]

[Saifuku] The formal costume of a Shinto priest when performing religious ceremonies. Made of white silk.


see Matsuri


The day on which a festival is held. Shrine festivals are held throughout the year, but tend to be concentrated in the spring planting and autumn harvest seasons. These are also the seasons for celebrating ujigami festivals. Summer festivals focus on prayers for relief from pestilence and storms.


The observance of abstinence for a certain period of time before and after a religious ceremony by a participant. The person remains secluded in a building called an imiya, uses only sacred fire (bekka), bathes frequently, abstains from partaking of certain foods, avoids contact with death and sickness, and concentrates on religious concerns. There are two levels of abstinence: araimi or rough abstinence and maimi or true abstinence.


Building where priests seclude themselves and practice kessai or purification before officiating at religious ceremonies.


Utensils used in religious ceremonies, including the following:


Offerings made to a deity on the occasion of a visit to a shrine. Articles or money may be placed before the deity as a sign of reverence.

Sai no kami

see Dôsojin

Saisei itchi

see Kokka Shintô

Saisen[Glossary: saisen]

Money offered on the occasion of a visit to a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. The amount tends to be small; the general custom is to cast the money into an offering box.


see Matsuri


Supreme Priest/Priestess. The highest religious officiant at Ise no Jingû ranking above the daigûji and devoting him/herself entirely to religious ceremonies. From the Heian to the Meiji periods, a male representative from the governmental Bureau of Divinities (Jingikan) held the post. From the Meiji Restoration (1868) to the end of World War II, the post was held by a male member of the imperial family, but a female member now occupies the position, in imitation of the ancient custom of having an unmarried imperial princess, called a mitsue-shiro, serve the shrine in the role of saigû.


see Matsuri


see Tama2


see Saikigu

Sanja Matsuri[Glossary: sanja_matsuri]

Festival of the Three Shrines, celebrated annually on May 17 and 18 at Asakusa Jinja in Tokyo. Asakusa Jinja was formerly called Sanja Daigongen Sha or Sanja Myôjin Sha, and was the tutelary shrine of Asakusa in the Edo period. This brilliant festival is famous for its performance of dengaku.

Sanja Takusen

Oracles of the three deities Amaterasu Ômikami, Hachiman Daibosatsu, and Kasuga Daimyôjin. According to legend, the oracles appeared on the surface of the pond at Tôdaiji in Nara during the Shôô era (1288-1292). The oracles came to form the basis of moral teachings concerning pureness of mind, honesty, and benevolence, and also contributed to the formulation and spread of Shinto doctrine.


Thirty gods. In the late Heian period, the Tendai sect of Buddhism instituted the practice of choosing thirty prominent native Japanese gods and assigning one as the tutelary deity of each day of the month.


Regular or irregular visits to a shrine to pray. Visits may be paid to one's own ujigami or to other shrines. Even after moving away from his or her birthplace, a person may return on the occasion of the local ujigami festival or may request a representative to attend in his or her place.


The practice of scattering offerings such as rice, sake, pieces of cotton cloth, or money as offerings to a deity, particularly at celebrations honoring local or household gods. The offerings are usually scattered in the four corners and center of the ritual site. Rice and sake are said to have purifying powers.


Mountain King, a popular name for the deity Ôyamagui no kami, enshrined at Hie Jinja in Shiga Prefecture and in Hie shrines throughout the country. The term originated among the Buddhist priests at Enryakuji on Mt Hiei, who worshiped the god of the mountain as their tutelary deity.

Sannô ichijitsu Shintô

see Tendai Shintô

Sannô Matsuri[Glossary: sanno_matsuri]

A festival celebrated annually on June 14 and 15 at Hie Jinja in Tokyo. In the Edo period, the Kanda Matsuri was the festival for the townspeople, while the Sannô Matsuri was celebrated to entertain the shôgun. This official festival or goyôsai was a ceremonial affair known for the beauty of its procession of floats. See also Sannô.

Sanshu no Shinki

The three imperial Regalia. Three sacred treasures symbolizing the legitimacy of the imperial throne. In the past, possession of the status of Emperor was proven by the transmission of these three treasures. (1) The mirror, called the Yata no Kagami, is preserved as the manifestation of the goddess Amaterasu Ômikami at Ise no Jingû; a replica is preserved in the Kashiko-dokoro of the imperial palace. (2) The sword, called Kusanagi no Tsurugi, is a manifestation of the deity enshrined at Atsuta Jingû. A replica is preserved in the imperial palace. (3) The jewels, called Yasakani no Magatama, have always been preserved in the imperial palace. According to legend, all three treasures were handed down by Amaterasu Ômikami, and are said to symbolize the virtues of wisdom, courage, and benevolence.


Literally, "village shrine." In cases of a dual shrine complex, the one of the pair most easily accessible, located generally in or near a village. Long believed to have originated as yohaijo to facilitate worship of a main shrine located higher or deeper in a mountain area, the satomiya is now widely thought to have roots in the concept of a deity which travels to and from the mountain with the change in agricultural seasons.


Purity and cheerfulness of heart. Together with shôjiki (honesty), one of the most prized virtues in Shinto, and considered the spiritual aspect of purification (harae). A pure, cheerful spirit is called akaki kiyoki kokoro.

Sendai kuji hongi

Also called Kujiki or Kuji hongi. Originally thought to have been compiled during the reign of Empress Suiko (r. 692-728) but later judged to be a production of the ninth century. Its ten volumes detail the history of Japan from the age of the gods until the reign of Empress Suiko. Many of its narratives duplicate those in the Kojiki and Nihongi, but it also includes legends not found in other sources and provides information about ancient religious ceremonies and thought.


Originally a Buddhist term meaning leader or guide, especially a leader of ascetic practices. However, in the late Heian period, the practice of visiting Shinto shrines such as Kumano and Yoshino became popular, and the term sendatsu came to be used to refer to guides for such pilgrimages. See also oshi.


The transfer of a deity to a new shrine building. In ancient times, shrines were constructed simply and may have been rebuilt annually. On these occassions, ceremonies were held to pray for the deity's blessing. See also shikinen sengû.


A subordinate shrine, located within the precincts of a larger shrine but generally dedicated to a minor deity.

Shaden[Glossary: shaden]

see Jinja

Shagô[Glossary: izumo_shrine]

Names of types of shrines, such as daijingû, jingû, , taisha, and sha. In a few exceptional cases, the name of the deity enshrined is used as a shagô. The title of jingû is the highest appellation; it includes Ise no Jingû and other special shrines dedicated to imperial ancestors or emperors or having an otherwise distinguished background. The title of is applied only to shrines dedicated to the spirit of an emperor or a member of the imperial family, or to a shrine having some other special historical significance. Taisha indicates a shrine, such as Izumo Taisha, that occupies a position of prominence in the area. Jinja and sha are general appellations. See also shakaku seido.

Shakaku seido[Glossary: kampei_taisha]

System of ranking shrines. Until the end of the second world war, Shinto shrines received government support. Different shrines were accorded different treatment on the basis of factors such as circumstances of foundation, the importance of the shrine's location, and the degree of reverence with which it was worshiped. The Engi shiki distinguished between Kampeisha (national, imperial shrines) and Kokuheisha (provincial shrines) (see also shikinaisha) and further divided these categories into dai (major) and shô (minor), thus establishing distinctive treatment on occasions such as the presentation of offerings at various festivals. During the Heian period, other systems of classification developed, such as the nijûnisha or 22 shrines of the Kyoto metropolitan area, and the ichi no miya (first shrines) and sôsha (combined shrines) in the provinces. Categories became even more complex during the Meiji period, but today there is no official system of ranking.


[Shaku] An accessory held by formally attired court officials in ancient times and part of the Shinto priest's formal costume today. Said to have originated in China as a prompter used during official ceremonies.


The administrative offices of a shrine. At Ise no Jingû this office is called the Jingû Shichô, while at Atsuta Jingû it is called the Gûchô.

Shichi-go-san[Glossary: shichi_go_san]

[Shichi-go-san] "Seven-five-three" festival, held on November 15. A rite of passage in which five-year-old boys and three- and seven-year-old girls visit the shrine of their ujigami or tutelary deity to pray for special protection. This custom is practiced widely in the Kanto area; the date coincides with a traditional date for ujigami festivals.

Shikinaisha[Glossary: jinmyocho][Glossary: kampei_taisha]

Shrine listed in the Jinmyôchô of the ninth and tenth volumes of the Engi shiki. These 2861 shrines (including 3,132 enshrined deities) were entitled to official state offerings at their festivals. These shrines were of two types: Kampeisha (national, imperial shrines), which received offerings from the Department of Divinities (Jingikan), and Kokuheisha (provincial shrines), which received offerings from the kokushi or local governor. See also Shakaku seido.

Shikinen sengû

Transfer of a deity to a new shrine building once in a prescribed number of years. Most scholars believe that shrine facilities were originally rebuilt annually, at which time ceremonies were performed to renew the power of the enshrined deity. When permanent shrine buildings came to be erected, however, the transfer to a new building came to be carried out only once in a prescribed number of years. At Ise no Jingû, this transfer is performed once every twenty years. In 1973, it was celebrated for the 60th time. The Kasuga Taisha in Nara is rebuilt every thirty years; the Kamo Mioya Jinja in Kyoto is rebuilt every fifty years; and the Nukisaki Jinja in Gumma Prefecture is rebuilt every thirteen years. See also sengû.


see Tama2

Shimenawa[Glossary: shimenawa][Glossary: shide]

[Shimenawa] A sacred rope marking the presence of a god or the border of a sacred area. Zig-zag strips of paper, called shide, are hung from the rope, which is made of twisted new straw.


Divine retribution inflicted on someone who speaks or acts in a disrespectful, unbelieving, or impure way towards a god. Bachi is a variant form of batsu, meaning punishment.


[Shinboku] A sacred tree or grove within the precincts of a shrine. Believed originally to have been a tree to which the spirit of a deity descended. Shimenawa may be strung around the tree. Many examples exist in which a sacred tree is worshiped as the shintai or symbol of the deity in the absence of other shrine buildings.

Shinbutsu bunri

The separation of Shinto and Buddhism. The Meiji Restoration of 1868 was accompanied by a movement in the Shinto world to restore the purity of everything Japanese. On March 28, 1868, the government issued an order to abolish the previous custom of amalgamating Shinto and Buddhism (shinbutsu shûgô). As a result of this order, it was forbidden for Shinto gods to be called bosatsu (bodhisattva), for Buddhist scriptures to be read before the Shinto deities, for Buddhist priests to participate in Shinto worship services, or for shrines to have Buddhist paraphernalia within their precincts.

Shinbutsu shûgô[Glossary: shinbutsu_shugo]

The harmonization of Shinto, the native Japanese religion, with Buddhism, which came from India via China. According to Buddhist doctrine, a person who has done good may become a deva after death, living in heaven, encouraging humans to do good, and acting as a protector of Buddhism. When Buddhism was introduced to Japan around 552, the word deva was translated not only as the Japanese ten, but also as kami, in order to facilitate the propagation of the new religion among the common people. This process of syncretization became particularly conspicuous during the Nara period. Before constructing the huge statue of the Buddha at the Tôdaiji in Nara (741), Emperor Shômu first commanded the priest Gyôki to report the plan to the goddess at Ise no Jingû and to make an offering of relics of the Buddha; Buddhist scriptures were also offered to the Usa Hachiman Shrine. Syncretic practices such as building shrines on temple grounds and pagodas in shrine precincts, and of reading Buddhist scriptures before Shinto deities or presenting them to shrines, all continued until the two religions were forcibly separated in the early Meiji period (see shinbutsu bunri). The theory of honji suijaku was developed during the Heian period to explain this relationship and propagated through such movements as Shingon Shintô and Tendai Shintô.

Shinden[Glossary: shinden]

see Jinja


see Keidaichi

Shingaku1[Glossary: motoori_norinaga][Glossary: kawatsura_bonji][Glossary: kokugaku][Glossary: kojiki-den]

Theology. Originally used to refer to specifically Shinto studies, the term is now used to mean theology in general. Shinto theology begins with the oral traditions preserved by the kataribe (narrators) of ancient times. The Kojiki was compiled from accounts transmitted orally through a kataribe named Hieda no Are. These oral traditions were edited and rearranged on certain theological principles and presented in the form of national histories, the Kojiki and Nihongi. However, the earliest example in Japan of a theology with a substantial philosophical and apologetic background is the honji suijaku theory of Shinto-Buddhist syncretism (shinbutsu shûgô), which led to the development of opposing movements such as Ise Shintô and Yoshida Shintô. In the Edo period, a new epoch of Shinto studies began with the kokugaku or National Learning of scholars such as Motoori Norinaga and Hirata Atsutane. Prominent Shinto thinkers of the Meiji period include Kawazura Bonji, Kawai Kiyomaru, and Kakei Katsuhiko. Noteworthy postwar figures include Ono Motonori, Nakanishi Akira, and Matsunaga Motoki.


Mind (heart) Learning. A religious and ethical movement headed by Ishida Baigan (1685-1746). While based on Shinto (special reverence was paid to Amaterasu Ômikami) concepts borrowed from Zen Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism were used to preach the ethics of everyday life to the common people.

Shingon Shintô

Also called Ryôbu Shintô, an interpretation of Shinto according to the doctrines of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. In the esoteric Shingon sect, the unity of the metaphysical world with the phenomenal and natural world is explained via the dualistic principles of the Kongôkai (vajradhatu or diamond world) and Taizôkai (garbhadhatu or womb world). According to this interpretation, the relative is equivalent to the absolute and phenomenon is equivalent to noumenon. This principle was extended to assert that the native Japanese deities are equivalent to the Buddhas; for example, Amaterasu Ômikami is viewed as equivalent to Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana). This school of thought was said to have been initiated by Kûkai (773-835), the founder of the Shingon sect in Japan, but it is in fact a later development. Kûkai was, however, a strong believer in Shinto deities, and established the shrine Nibutsuhime Jinja as the tutelary deity of Kôyasan, the mountain monastery which he founded. See also honji suijaku, shinbutsu shûgô.


see Mi-itsu


see Shinkai

Shinji nô[Glossary: shinji_no]

[Shinji no] plays performed as part of Shinto religious ceremonies. Origins of the drama may be found in the za (parish organizations) associated with the Kasuga and Hie shrines. Today there are still many local shrines where old forms of drama are performed at festivals. A full program of plays begins with a Kami-mono (god-drama), in which a deity appears as the shite (protagonist).


The rank assigned by the imperial court to the deity of a shrine. A description of this practice first appears in the Tôdaiji yôroku (ca. 1134), which states that in 746 the Hachiman Taisha was given the third rank in supplication for the cure of the emperor's illness. From the time of the late Nara period, this system of assignment became customary, and promotions were also given on occasions such as removal of the capital to a new site, an imperial journey, coronation, or war. At first, lands proportionate to the rank were given in fief, but the practice gradually became one of mere formal assignment of rank, and the system was ultimately abolished in the Meiji period. However, the study of shinkai reveals valuable information about the position of shrines throughout history and the trends in the support each received.

Shinkôshiki[Glossary: shinko]

[Shinkoshiki] Procession on the occasion of a festival by which the spirit of a deity is removed from the main shrine and escorted on a tour of various sites. The procession may be over water as well as land. Some processions, such as that of the Gion Matsuri from Yasaka Jinja in Kyoto, feature costumes of great elegance and historical significance. Also called o-watari.


(1) A general term used to refer to kami.

(2) Another name for the goddess Amaterasu Ômikami. Shrines dedicated to Amaterasu Ômikami are often called shinmei sha.

Shinmei-zukuri[Glossary: shinmei-zukuri]

[Shinmei-zukuri] A style of architecture for the honden of a shrine. One of the oldest styles, it is represented by the mi-shôden or Main Shrine of Ise no Jingû.


A gate built on the avenue of approach to a shrine. A number of styles exist, including rômon, yatsuashimon, yotsuashimon, karamon, and zuijinmon.


Sacred treasures. Treasures stored within the honden of a shrine for the use of the deity. May include such articles as sacred garments, cloth, canopies, mirrors, bells, halberds, swords, bows, arrows, and musical instruments.


[Shinsen] Food offerings presented to a deity. May include rice, sake, rice cakes, fish, fowl, meat, seaweed, vegetables, fruits, sweets, salt, and water. Prepared in a consecrated kitchen building called the shinsenden. Jukusen is cooked food, while seisen is raw, and sosen is vegetarian food.


Consecrated fields for the production of rice to be used in shrine ceremonies. The supervisor of the shinsenden is called the kamiyaku. The fields are tilled entirely by hand, without the use of any animal labor.

Shinsen shôjiroku[Glossary: shinsen_shojiroku]

A record of the origins and histories of ancient clans. Compiled in 815 during the reign of Emperor Saga, its thirty volumes classify 1182 clans into three main categories: descendants of gods, descendants of Emperors, and naturalized immigrants (from Han China, and the Korean kingdoms of Paekche, Koryo, Silla, and Imna). Entries are arranged in order by residence: Sakyô and Ukyô (the two main districts of the capital), Yamashiro, Yamato, Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi.

Shinshoku[Glossary: shinshoku]

The Shinto priesthood, a general appellation for persons who prepare and participate in shrine ceremonies. Recognition is achieved by attending a school designated by the Jinja Honchô or by passing a qualifying examination. Generally, the highest grade is gûji (chief priest), followed by gongûji (associate chief priest), negi (senior priest), and gonnegi (junior priest).

Shintai[Glossary: goshintai]

An object of worship in which the spirit of a deity is believed to reside. A symbol or medium of the spirit of a deity. The word shintai (or goshintai) is the Sino-Japanese term for mitamashiro.

Shintaizan[Glossary: kanasana_jinja]

[Shintaizan] A mountain worshiped as the sacred dwelling place of a deity or deities. Kanasana Jinja in Saitama Prefecture, Suwa Jinja in Nagano Prefecture, and Ômiwa Jinja in Nara Prefecture all have a mountain as their shintai and thus lack a main shrine building (shinden). Many folk beliefs hold that ancestral spirits and agricultural deities descend from certain sacred mountains on the occasion of festivals.


[Shinten] Sacred scriptures. Imperial House Shinto (Kôshitsu Shintô), Shrine Shinto (Jinja Shintô) and folk Shinto (minkan Shintô) are not defined by any specific set of scriptures, but such works as the Kojiki, Nihon shoki, Kogo Shûi, Man'yôshû, and Fudoki have long been considered classic sources of Shinto thought. The Taihôryô (see ritsuryô), Engi shiki, and other legal compilations also provide valuable documentation of ancient Shinto systems and ceremonies. These works contain mythological accounts and historical records concerning matters such as the origin of the world, the birth of the land, the appearance of the gods and of all things in the universe, the establishment of the nation and the relation of the gods to government, ceremonies of worship, manners and customs, and Shinto attitudes and norms. The term shinten sometimes refers to certain portions of the Kojiki, Nihon shoki, Kogo shûi, and Engi shiki, and sometimes to a wider range of works.

Shinto[Glossary: shinto]

The way of the kami (deities). Numerous deities, including clan ancestors, were worshiped in ancient Japan, and official life was also inextricably bound up with worship of the gods. However, this native religion was not known by any particular name until Buddhism and Confucianism were imported from the Chinese continent. As a religion, Shinto is not based on a founder, dogma, or sacred scripture, but rather on custom, reverence for ancestral traditions, and living and acting according to the guidance of the gods. The imperial house has preserved a relatively pure version of this ancient tradition; popular beliefs have generally developed in amalgamation with other religions. Sect Shinto (Kyôha Shintô) is a development of the nineteenth century in which individual sects were founded by specific leaders. After the second world war, a number of new religions (shinkô Shintô) also developed. Historical schools and movements within Shinto include Restoration Shinto (Fukko Shintô), Ise Shintô, Confucianistic Shinto (Jugaku Shintô), Shingon Shintô, Suiga Shintô, Tendai Shintô, Yoshida Shintô, and Yoshikawa Shintô.

Shintô gobusho[Glossary: shinto_gobusho]

Sometimes called the "Shinto Pentateuch," the five fundamental books presenting the main teachings of Ise Shintô. Believed to be a work of the late thirteenth century.

Shintô kaiga

Artistic representations of deities are made, not only in sculpture, but also in painting. Under Buddhist influence, mandala-type paintings appeared early, and there are many excellent examples still extant, such as the Kasuga mandala. Portraits of the deity Tenjin (i. e., Sugawara Michizane) were made in large numbers as objects of worship. Religious paintings are of many types, including deities represented as men, women, and children, as old men, and as Buddhist priests, and excellent examples are preserved in large numbers in the shrines.


Divine virtue. A god's unique power to provide blessings. For example, Ôkuninushi no mikoto is said to have the power to bless humans with marital happiness. Sugawara Michizane (Tenjin) is characterized as the tutelary deity of learning.


see Mikoshi

Shinzen kekkon

[Shinzen kekkon] Shinto wedding. Weddings in Japan were originally performed in the home, with rites being performed in accordance with folk beliefs. The present style of Shinto wedding developed after the Meiji Restoration (1868), as it gradually became more and more common to use public facilities such as Shinto shrines for such rites.


[Shinzo] A portrayal in sculpture or painting of a deity or deities. Shinto iconography developed under the influence of Buddhism. Once created, the icon is believed to become the dwelling place for the spirit of the deity. Famous examples of early shinzô include the wooden statues of the male and females deities at Matsunoo Taisha in Kyoto.

Shiroki, Kuroki

Light and dark rice wine (sake) presented as shinsen on the occasion of the Niinamesai (aki matsuri) and Daijôsai. According to the Engi shiki, divination was practiced to determine the region from which the rice should be taken for production of the sake. The dark sake was made by mixing ashes of the kusaki (a variety of arrowroot), or the root of the mountain utsugi (Deutzia scabra).

Shishi[Glossary: shishi]

Lion. While lions have never lived wild in the islands of Japan, they were imported in graphic form through China and Korea. The shishi-mai or lion dance is often seen at shrine festivals and at New Year's, when performers visit each home in the neighborhood to cast out evil.


Associate chief priest. The post at Ise no Jingû corresponding to the gongûji at other shrines. There is also a post called shôgûji at Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, but the shô is written using a different character.


Honesty, uprightness. One of the most highly prized virtues in Shinto.

Shôjin[Glossary: shojin_otoshi]

The observance of abstinence for a certain period by a participant in a religious rite, or worshiping at a shrine as a way of purifying both body and spirit.


see Taisai


Priests serving in the shôten-shoku of the Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichô) and attending exclusively to religious ceremonies in the shrines of the imperial palace. Includes two ranks, shôten and shôtenho.


(1) Originally, any ornamentation such as interior furnishings or displays of objects.

(2) From the Heian period on, a broad term for the dress of nobles, warriors, and stage costumes.

(3) Shinto priests' robes.

Shubatsu[Glossary: shubatsu]

see Harae


A shrine dedicated to the spirits of deceased ancestors, worshipped in Shinto as gods.


Funeral ceremonies. In Shinto, the soul is believed to survive after death. However, funeral ceremonies are usually performed in the home or in facilities other than shrines due to the pollution associated with death. Present-day Shinto funeral ceremonies are based on the teachings of Hirata Atsutane and embody ancient Japanese views of life and death. However, most Japanese today hold Buddhist funerals.


Combined shrine; the representative shrine of a region. In the mid-Heian period, sôsha were established in the vicinity of provincial government offices in order to facilitate the governor's worship of the most prominent, or all, of the shrines in the administrative region.

Suiga Shintô

An academic school of Shinto. The word suiga, "descent of divine blessing," is taken from the writings of Ise Shintô. Suiga Shintô, founded by Yamazaki Ansai (1618-1682), is a combination of the Shinto and Neo-Confucianism of the early Edo period. Suiga Shintô emphasized the Nihon shoki as its main scripture, the unity of man and god, and the virtue of propriety (tsutsushimi). It involved the worship of living persons, including Ansai, as gods, and also advocated emperor-worship and patriotism.

Suijin[Glossary: suijin]

[Suijin] Water deity worshiped at sources of irrigation waterways, lakes, ponds, springs, and wells. The suijin has been represented in the form of a serpent, an eel, a fish, and a kappa or water sprite. Women have played an important role in the history of suijin worship.


A patron worshiper residing outside the geographical bounds of a given shrine parish. The sûkeisha kai is an organization of such patrons.


Japanese wrestling, an ancient sport described as early as the Nihon shoki of 720. Originally held at the imperial court in early autumn, two teams of wrestlers from all regions of the country competed to divine the outcome of the year's harvest. Tournaments are now held several times each year at various locations throughout the country.

Susanoo no mikoto[Glossary: susanoo_no_mikoto][Glossary: yamata_no_orochi]

The younger brother of Amaterasu Ômikami. According to the mythic record, he was unable to contain his own great power and often caused disturbances among the gods. He was once banished from Takama no Hara but later conquered an eight-headed dragon called Yamata no Orochi, saved its victim (a young maiden), and gained possession of the sword that is now one of the three imperial regalia (sanshu no shinki). He was thus transformed into a benevolent deity and is now especially petitioned for salvation from disaster. He is identified with Gozu Tennô and enshrined at Yasaka Jinja in Kyoto. See also Gion.

Suwa[Glossary: suwa]

The two deities Takeminakatatomi no mikoto and Yasakatome no mikoto, enshrined at Suwa Taisha on the bank of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, and at Suwa branch shrines throughout the country. According to legend, the two were indigenous deities who resisted the rule of the heavenly grandchild, and are now believed to have originally been local gods connected with worship of the lake.

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