Hida Koku Part 3. Kuraiyama and Dounosora Village

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Kuraiyama as seen from Dounosora Jomon village. (c) 2011.

Mt. Kurai, Kuraiyama, is a sacred mountain in Hida, attested to by the Dounosora ruins. Our rendition of  http://www.geocities.jp/mb1527/N3-01-1hidakoku.html continues.

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位山 Kuraiyama

Kuraiyama is the goshintai object of worship of Minashi Jinja. Folklore has this to say.

  1. The scepter tree, ichii no ki is used in the ceremony of Emperor’s succession to throne.
  2. Kuraiyama as a regional tradition:  “The lord of Kuraiyama is  a kami who enthrones Emperor Jimmu. The kami is said to have one body, two faces and four legs and arms. It could go through clouds in heaven (Amenomurakumo), riding a boat floating in the air (天空浮舟), and then descend  to the summit of the mountain.”
  3. Takaamahara is claimed by different regions in Japan, the oldest is Hida Kuraiyama. Amaterasu is said to be laid to rest on Kuraiyama.
  4. Emperor Jimmu, while climbing the mountain, met a kami with four hands and two faces  (Ryoumen Sukuna) who acknowledged Jimmu as emperor and thus gave the name kurai to this mountain.
  5. Kuraiyama is a watershed; to the north the Miyagawa becomes the Jinzu Rier and flows into Toyama Bay; to the south the Hidagawa flows into the Kisogawa and continues into Ise Bay.
  6. Next to it the ancient government road (Higashiyama kodo) passes by. There is part of a stone pavement today.
  7. At the foot of Kuraiyama are a number of megalithic groups. Some have evidently been worked on by man and are iwakura. Near the summit is an iwakura called Ama-no-Iwato. Many petrographs have been found in the area.
  8. It has been recorded that there was an omiya residence of an ancient emperor (Amaterasu) on Kuraiyama. The Takenouchi Komonjo is an ultra-ancient document transmitted in Etchu.
  9. Ootataneko-no-mikoto during the reign of Keikou Tenno wrote (the document Hotsuma Tsutae) that when Amaterasu was born, the placenta was cut by the ichii no ki from Kuraiyama.
  10. Kuraiyama is the sacred capital of Kunitokotachi and is said to be both the birth site and the tomb of Amaterasu.

堂之上(どうのそら) Dounosora Ruins

Dounosora Ruins are located in the highlands of Hida River upstream at an altitude of 700 m. Discovered by excavation in 1973 it is a typical Jomon village. It had been left in almost perfect condition on the plateau. In Dounosora, residences are placed in the form of a U with the direction facing Kuraiyama. Through ritual remains found here, it is confirmed that Kuraiyama had been worshiped.

The ruins are on a plateau overlooking the Hida River and have undergone little change in the terrain. Pit dwellings (43) surround the central square. Excavated relics include pottery, soil products, stone products and carbide. They indicate culture propagation and exchanges with East and West Japan. The timber of the pillars of the residences, carbonized material excavated from the ruins, was found to be chestnut material. Chestnut was also a food source. This medium term Jomon Hida region  shows strong cultural exchange between Hokuriku and Shinano/Tokyo, the east and Pacific Ocean. 

The Dounosora Jomon knew how to cope with the intense cold. This site is surrounded by steep mountains located in inland Hida and maximizes the geographical conditions to the north, south, east and west.

These ruins indicate that Kuraiyama was the royal capital of the Hida dynasty.

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