Yamaguchi

Akama-jingu Shrine

Journeys through Japanese legends

Akama-jingu Shrine

This shrine is closely associated with the battle of Dannoura in Tale of the Heike. Dannoura is the ancient battle field where the Heike clan met its fall. Defeated, the Heike people threw themselves into the sea in this area. Akama-jingu Shrine, which faces the Kanmon Strait, is where Emperor Antoku (grandson of Tairanokiyomori), tragically forfeited his life at the age of three at that time, is worshiped. The predecessor of this shrine was said to have been the Amida-ji Temple, which became the stage of the ghost story “Hoichi the Earless.” As you know, the ghosts of the Heike Clan came out at one point. At such as spot, one cannot but help thinking about the world of the Tale of the Heike.
* Tale of the Heike: an epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180–1185). Heike refers to the Taira clan. (Wikipedia)

The Kanmon Strait and Dannoura Battlefield

The Kanmon Strait across which the two port towns of Shimonoseki and Mojiko Retro face each other In the late Heian era, the battle of Dannoura took place in this area, leading to the destruction of the Heike Clan. The Mimosusogawa Park facing Hayatomonoseto, the narrowest point of the strait, has statues and stone monuments associated with the Tale of the Heike, such as Minamoto no Yoshitsune of eight boat leap fame and Taira no Tomomori, who tied a bower anchor to his feet and leaped into the sea when defeated at the battle of Dannoura.

The Akama-jingu Shrine resembling a dragon palace

The vermilion-lacquered Suitenmon gate with its white walls, which evokes the Ryūgū-jō undersea palace of Ryūjin, the dragon god of the sea, is a symbol of the Akama-jingu Shrine. It is said that the gate turned into a structure resembling a dragon palace when the second-ranked nun (Emperor Ankoku’s wife Tokuko), after writing a poem called “Let there be a capital under the waves,” jumped into the sea.

Strolling down the Furue Shoji Alley in a castle town

A stroll down the Furue Shoji Alley in the Shimonoseki-shi/Chofu area is not to be missed. The alley is lined with mud walls, strongly evoking the feel of a castle town.

A Shimonoseki specialty: Fukuzashi

Fugu, or pufferfish, is the definitive taste of Shimonoseki. When in Shimonoseki, do not miss the elegant taste of fukuzashi, the native dish of thinly carved slices of fugu carefully arranged to look like the petals of a flower.

INFORMATION

Location/Access 4-1 Amidaijichou, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
About 30 minutes by airport bus from Kitakyushu Airport (JR Shimonoseki Station)
Opening hours 9:00 to 17:00 (Treasure Tour)
Inquiries Akama-jingu Shrine
Tel: 083-231-4138
http://www.tiki.ne.jp/~akama-jingu/

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