Mt. Hakusan and Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine

1. The Hakusan Faith and Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine

Mt. Hakusan rises high over the three prefectures of Ishikawa, Fukui, and Gifu, and has been revered as a sacred mountain since ancient times. Mt. Hakusan’s precious water sources provided an indispensable key to life. Whether one lived in the foothills or in the plains, with a far-off view of Mt. Hakusan, the mountain has long been holy ground, and the people of the region offer prayers of gratitude toward the mountain all year round.
As time went on, the Hakusan Faith gradually took on a new form: people began climbing Mt. Hakusan as a form of religious devotion, and a trail was established up to the top of the mountain. Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine was established here over 2,100 years ago, and for many centuries has provided a base for those making this reverential trip up the mountain; today, it serves as the head shrine for Hakusan and Shirayama shrines nationwide, dedicated to this sacred mountain. Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine is also the grand shrine that protects the Hokuriku region, locally known by the nickname Shirayama-san.

2. Enshrined Deities

Izanagi no Mikoto
Shirayama-Hime no Okami (Kukuri-Hime no Kami)
Izanami no Mikoto

In addition to Kukuri-Hime no Kami, Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine is also dedicated to Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.
In Japanese, "kukuri" can also mean "to tie" or "to bind;" as a result, Kukuri-Hime no Kami is also revered as both the goddess of matchmaking and the goddess of marital conjugal bliss.

3. Shrine Blessings

Good harvests, large hauls of fish, improved luck, household safety, successful matchmaking, safe travels, business prosperity, successful studies, bodily health, harmonious marriage, good fortune and long life, continued good fortune in the family, and prosperity of descendants

4. Shrine Crest

Officially known as Mitsu-Komochi Kikko Uri-no-Hana: a gourd flower inside of a three-tiered regular hexagon. The hexagon represents a tortoiseshell pattern - tortoises are an auspicious symbol of long life - and the three tiers represent continued good fortune in the family from past to future, from parent to child, and from child to grandchild. The symbolism of the gourd flower comes from gourds’ rarity as a food in ancient times: because gourds were such a rare treat, they were used as offerings to the gods. The flower in the crest represents a prayer to the deities of the shrine for descendants’ prosperity.
The crest of Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine represents a prayer for prosperity in life, and is respected as a symbol of continued good luck in the family, prosperity of descendants, and harmony between gods and humans.

The Shrine Grounds

1. Omote-Sando

The 250-meter-long omote-sando main walkway is lined with sugi cedar, zelkova, and maple trees, for beautiful walks all throughout the year.

2. Biwa-Taki Falls

These waterfalls flow into the clear stream that runs along the omote-sando main walkway, and their refreshing sound helps purify the mind. They are also beautifully lit at night.

3. Old Sugi Cedar Tree (Sacred tree)

This tree is located by the temizuya along the omote-sando main walkway, and has a thick shimenawa rope wrapped around it. The base of this 800-year-old tree is 12 meters around, its trunk is about 10 meters around, and it rises to a height of some 42 meters.


4. Three Sugi Cedar Trees (Sacred trees)

These sugi cedar trees were grown from seeds planted by Emperor Hirohito, then replanted here as sacred trees once they grew into saplings.

5. Misogi-Sha & Misogi-Ba

The location of a ritual held to cleanse participants of sin and impurities. At Misogi-Ba, a solemn atmosphere surrounds a water source fed by an underground stream from Mt. Hakusan.

Proper Manners when Paying Your Respects at Shrines

1. Pass Through the Torii Gate

When visiting a shrine, first pass through the torii gate. Beyond the torii gate is sacred ground that belongs to the gods, so it is best to first bow to them before passing through the gate.

2. Walk along the Sando Walkway

The walkway between the torii gate and the main area of the shrine is called the sando.
The center of this walkway is for the gods, so it is best to stay to one side or the other as you walk along it.

3. Cleanse Yourself at the Temizuya

Along the kita-sando walkway, you will find the temizuya.
It was originally considered essential to ritually cleanse oneself in the sea or a river before entering the sacred space of a shrine.
Today, the temizuya (also known as a chozuya) serves as a simplified symbol of that ritual cleansing: on your way to the main area of the shrine, ritually cleanse yourself at the temizuya by washing your hands and rinsing out your mouth.

Cleansing Yourself at the Temizuya

  1. With your right hand, use the dipper to pour water onto the palm of your left hand.
  2. Repeat, using the dipper in your left hand to pour water onto the palm of your right hand.
  3. To rinse your mouth, hold the dipper in your right hand and scoop up water. Pour some of the water into your cupped left hand, and bring the water in your hand to your mouth.
  4. With both hands, hold the dipper upright with the bowl end at the top, to pour out the rest of the water and rinse off the handle.

4. Make an Offering of Money

Originally, offerings of harvested rice were given to the gods, but as society transitioned to using money, these offerings came to be cash instead of rice.

5. Bow Twice, Clap Twice, Bow Once

When you arrive at the shrine’s haiden, or hall of worship, pay your respects by bowing twice, clapping twice, then bowing once more, in order to show your gratitude or to offer up a prayer to the gods.

Bow Twice, Clap Twice, Bow Once
Bow deeply twice, lowering your head until your back is level with the ground. Spread your hands to shoulder width and clap twice, slowly. Then, bow deeply once more.

6. When Leaving the Shrine

After you pass through the torii gate when leaving the shrine, turn around and bow to the gods once more.

Amulets and Other Items

Within the culture of Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, items like stones and mirrors worn on the body are believed to grant the wearer the gods' strength and ward off disaster and danger. Over time, these became omamori amulets, and shrines began to offer various types of omamori amulets.
Omamori amulets are purified through Shinto priests' prayers and are imbued with the power of the gods, so they are often kept on one's person or carefully placed in specific places. It is generally considered best to replace omamori amulets with new ones after New Year's Day.

Omamori Amulets

¥800 ceremony fee.
Available in red, blue, and white.
School Test Success Omamori Amulet

¥800 ceremony fee.

Safe Travel Omamori Amulets

¥800 ceremony fee.
Available in red and blue.
Matchmaking Omamori Amulets

¥800 ceremony fee.
Available in red, blue, and yellow.
Happiness Omamori Amulet

¥800 ceremony fee.

Work Omamori Amulet

¥1,000 ceremony fee.

Shrine Museum

Over the years, Shirayama Hime Jinja Shrine has amassed a substantial collection of valuable treasures, due to its prominence as a center of faith and veneration, far and wide, since ancient times. Historical materials from ancient times through the middle ages are irreplaceable cultural properties that tell us about the Hakusan Faith. The shrine's collection also includes precious historical materials from the later middle ages and on, many of which tell us about the Maeda Clan of the Kaga Domain. In addition to their obvious historic and cultural value, these priceless treasures provide a glimpse of what life was like back in those days, and provide a sense of the eternal nature of history.


Exhibition Hours

Apr. 1 through Oct. 319:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Nov. 1 through Nov. 309:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

(Closed for winter from Dec. through Mar.)


Admission

Adults¥300
Children under 18free

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