Winter solstice sunrise at Asadori Myoujin by Chika
Chika-san has provided additional photos from the Himukae ceremony on the morning of winter solstice. Above is the splendid view of the sunrise, looking from Asadori’s torii.
The head priest who conducted the ritual had a very old scroll in his hands, so old that it was quite in tatters. And yet, this ceremony to greet the sun has come down through the ages from prehistoric times. We are fortunate to be able to participate even today with a precious activity of the Jomon people of Hinomoto.
Rising sun is barely visible in front of the R-stone (left) and S-stone (right foreground)
Sugisaka-san was on the hike up Higashinoyama on Winter Solstice day. He has kindly shared his photos taken of the R and S megaliths that face the rising sun on that day. He mounted his camera on a tall pole so we have some striking overhead views of the two megaliths.
Here we see a red-jacketed woman climbing up to the observation seat on R-stone. On the left, she assists another person.
This is a side view of S-stone which is to the right of R-stone as we face east. Both stones play their roles at other winter observation times.
Chika-san attended the Asadori Myoujin Himukae ceremony for the revival of the sun’s power. It took place as the sun rose in the south-east on the morning of winter solstice, shining directly into the center of the altar. Below is the altar before the sunrise, and then immediately as the sunlight illuminated the sacred object within.
Above is a photo of the priest explaining the ritual. He shouted the cock-crowing “Ko-ki-ko!” three times as a greeting to the sun. The group recited “Oh!”. This is a cry of joy that the sun is returning. Chika-san said that this ritual that musters life-force is very moving. The bright lights are the flashlights people are holding while it is still dark before sunrise.
Sun stones. Once, there were behind the hokora, a Sun Stone and five stones behind it. Now there are only three, because two of them were moved. The two men who touched the stones were subsequently afflicted with illness. That is why there are only three stones behind the Sun Stone, and no one is permitted to move the other two back. Lining up each of the three stones with the Sun Stone is the way to view sunrise at three distinct times of the year. In the photo below, the Sun Stone is indicated by a red dot, and the three alignment stones are marked with blue dots.
We conclude our three-part series reporting on the Kanayama Megaliths blog about the winter solstice. In the early afternoon of the solstice, the simulator is displaying perfectly the path of the sunlight. The spot of light strikes the observation panel precisely, which glows as if lit from within.
The winter sunset is also observable near the Senkoku-ishi. There is a pair of megaliths that clearly has been naturally divided in two. First take a look at the set-up. The sun is already striking the pair.
If you stand in back of the gap at sunset, you can gaze on this striking sight!
The reason that all these winter observations are possible in the mountainous terrain of the Kanayama Megaliths is that the megalith sites are intelligently located so as to take advantage of the astronomical geometry, i.e., the line to the winter solstice setting sun. Moreover, isn’t this a magnificent view of the place where the sun goes to rest in winter?
This is the second part of our three-part series on the winter solstice post from the Kanayama Megaliths blog site.
By 10:15, the group is down to the lower site. The sun is just rising over the mountain. It starts to bathe the central megalith of Iwaya-Iwakage which is on the highest ground.
The sunlight enters the chamber of Iwaya-Iwakage. The slant angle is just right for the face of the central megalith. Iwaya-Iwakage is where observations are made during the winter season from 60 days before the solstice to 60 days after.
Winter sunset can be observed here. The observation post is at the right foot of the long grooved megalith on the left side as you enter the chamber. This is just one boulder, not two. A deep groove has been carved so that the observer can see the setting sun. Note how the sunlight just barely skims the flank of the boulder. This delicate and dramatic spectacle can only be seen at solstice time. From the observation post, the sun is seen as it sets in the south west.
Next, we will visit the lower site of the simulator and the Senkoku-ishi area.
This is part one of the winter solstice report from Shiho Tokuda, describing the hike up Higashinoyama. The original is posted on the Kanayama Megaliths blog. Early in the morning of December 22, 2017, the observation group met at the lower megaliths site. Although astronomical sunrise is at 7 a.m., due to the mountainous terrain, the sun would appear later on the mountain.
There is no trail up to the megaliths, so it is rough going. At 8:40, after a difficult hike, the long megalith is seen through the trees. The members took turns at the snow-covered observation post. They were rewarded with a view of the winter sun peeking bravely through the trees of the forest.
Please go on to part two.
Chika-san has sent us two photos taken this winter solstice in Kanayama. The first is the megalith that views the sunrise. Fortunately the weather was good, even though there was snow on the ground from the earlier snowfall, and the group could climb Higashinoyama.
The other photo shows the split megaliths of the Senkoku group. The winter setting sun shines right through the crack, making a splendid sight.