The Many Legends of Amanohashidate







  1. The Myth of the Floating Bridge in the Heavens

There are legends stating that Amanohashidate was originally a ladder used by the god Izanaginomikoto to visit his lover the goddess Izanaminomikoto (Izanaginomikoto and Izanaminomikoto are the gods credited with the creation of Japan).  Legend has it that the ladder fell out of the sky into the ocean and became Amanohashidate.  Thanks to this myth, Amanohashidate is known as a place that brings men and women together and fulfills good fortune.

2.Kusedo Engi Legend

A legend stating that the Monju Bosatsu (Bodhisattva of Wisdom), the wisest of the Buddhist deities, was called upon to civilize an evil dragon that was sabotaging the area.  This legend is reenacted in the Monjudo Defune Festival held at Chionji Temple every year in July.

3.Kokawa no Hagoromo Legend

There is also another legend stating that a celestial maiden came down to earth and made sake using water from the river that flows out of Manai Shrine.

4.Chie no Wa Lantern (The Circle of Wisdom)


It is said that one can receive the wisdom of the Monju Bosatsu (Bodhisattva of Wisdom) if he or she passes through the Circle of Wisdom three times.  Since it is dangerous to actually climb through the hole of the lantern, many people put just their heads through the hole or walk around the lantern three times.  Eating Chie no mochi rice cake and soaking in the Chie no yu onsen (hot spring) in front of Amanohashidate Station are also said to bring people wisdom.

Nariaiji Temple

The Migawari Kannon Legend

The migawari kannon is from an old Japanese story in which a woman prays to the kannon bosatsu (bodhisattva) every day for her husband.  He one day comes home early and finds her praying to the kannon statue which she quickly hides.  The couple gets into a fight and the husband kills his wife by hitting her on the head with firewood.  He quickly buries his wife outside.  However when he comes back to his house after burying her, his wife is alive and in the house.  She explains that the kannon bosatsu (bodhisattva) who she had been praying to took the bloat to the head in her place.  She shows her husband her kannon bosatsu (bodhisattva) statue which then had a deep scar on its head.  This kannon bosatsu (bodhisattva) thus got the name “migawari kannon” or “self-sacrificing kannon”.


The starting point of the Urashimataro Legend

Many legends exist concerning the story of Urashimataro but Urashima Shrine (Ura Shrine) is thought to have given root to these various legends.  At the shrine you can see the legendary tamatebako and a scroll depicting the story of Urashimatro which is believed to be the original.

Urashimataro is an old Japan`s story about a man who is taken to and permitted to stay in an underwater world in exchange for helping a sea turtle.  When Urashimataro returns to his home, hundreds of years have passed in his world even though he was only in the underwater world for a short time.  His home, family, and friends are all gone.  He finds a box called tamatebako that transforms him into an old man after he opens it.


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