Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Weekend Getaway Part 2: A Visit to Izumo Taisha

So sorry for having taken a looooong time to write the second part of my last month's weekend getaway.

Where was I? Oh I was visiting Izumo shrine with hubby and some friends.

Not far from Izumo shrine, about 10 - 15 minute walk, there's a museum called Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo which displaysa great number of ancient artefacts such as the remains of the early Izumo Taisha's giant stairway pillars including the largest collection of excavated bronze swords and bells in Japan. The museum also houses Japan's only complete version of the Izumo no Kuni Fudoki (Ancient Chronicles of Izumo).

What is interesting about the museum is that - as far as I know you're not allowed to take pictures of the display - you are allowed to take a picture of some of the displays. So here there are some photos taken by hubby.

Archaeologists and historians have been trying to figure out what the early Izumo Taisha may have looked like. They came out with several ideas. These are the miniatures of the probable early Izumo Taisha.

This figure depicts how people of the ancient Izumo were dressed. This could have been the village chief or something. Somehow he reminds me of the Native Indians in America. What do you think?

Izumo boasts itself as the Land of Gods. The Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) is the oldest record of Japanese history. It contains records of ancient Japanese history as well as Japanese mythology. And Izumo Taisha is closely related to the myths in Kojiki since an important deity is believed to be enshrined there. This deity is Okuninushi, who is the son in-law of the storm god, Susanoo, who is also the brother of Amaterasu, the major deity in Shinto religion. Therefore, you will see a variety of symbols related to this fame. But, Japan being Japan, these symbols drawn very cutely if I may say. Look at these cappuccinos we ordered as we were taking a rest at the cafe in the museum. Aren't these just cute? One depicts cloud (where the gods live I guess) and the other Okuninushi's face (perhaps?). And oh, in case you wonder why those cookies have funny shapes. Well, this shape is of the shape of Magatama or comma-shaped beads. These beads date back to prehistoric Japan. It's also considered a talisman in Shintoism, to bring good fortune, etc.


And the cuteness doesn't stop here. The tales of Okuninushi tell about a rabbit who was helped by Okuninushi. As we were walking the paved path leading to the museum, we spotted some rabbit statues. They're so cute! I wish I had taken more pictures of them but this one really caught my attention. Don't you wanna hug this cute rabbit statue?

After this museum, I visited several more places. To be continued.. :)