Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 6. Belief and Practice
カテゴリー2: Shrines and Cultic Practices
Atago Shinkō
This is the cult that originated at the shrine Atago Jinja on the peak of Atago Mountain in Kyōto. Ascetic practitioners have been using the mountain since ancient times. During the Heian Period Atago was counted among the "seven high mountains" (shichi kōsan) of the Kinki region. Courts dispatched imperial messengers (chokushi) to the mountain to conduct Buddhist rituals there. The kami of Atago has been worshipped as a protector against fire disasters. The mountain is located northwest of Kyōto from which direction thunder and lightning clouds often appear, which may explain the development of the kami's character as a "fire kami" (hi no kami). There is a belief that a tengu (a bird-like mythical creature) named Atago Tarōbō lived on the mountain, and the area flourished as a sacred shugendō site. Moreover, because Shōgun Jizō (the battle-victory Jizo Buddha) was worshipped as the Buddhist avatar (honji butsu) of Atago, the Atago kami was popular with the warrior class as a "military kami" (gunshin) in the medieval period. People in various regions established Atago- confraternities and members customarily received a shikimi branch and a "kami amulet" (shinsatsu) with the words "hinoyōjin" (a formula to protect one from fire) written on it. There was also the belief that visiting Atago Shrine on the first day of the eighth month, a visit known as "sennichi mōde" ("prayer of 1000 days merit"), generated the virtue equivalent of visiting the shrine every day for one thousand days. In the Kinki and San'in regions, Atago beliefs and practices have been combined with the Obon fire festival, in an event known as "atagobi" involving the burning of a hashiramatsu bonfire taimatsu torches.

— Satō Masato

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