Author Archives: Okunomichi

About Okunomichi

Okunomichi represents a group of seekers of sacred wisdom of the East. We are focusing primarily on the wisdom of ancient Japan, when there was not even a nation by that name. Yet, over a long period of time, an advanced civilization grew and developed high levels of understanding of the universe and how to live in harmony. This knowledge, these teachings, have been hard to discover for us in the West. We are finding them, and we are sharing them, with you.

Guide Booklet for Kanayama Megaliths

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Kanayama Megaliths Guide Booklet

An English-language guide to the Kanayama Megaliths has been published by the Japan-Insights program of Toshiba International Foundation. The PDF can be downloaded from this URL. There are 28 pages. We hope you will find it an excellent and concise reference book to the viewing spots and solar observations at various times of the year.

Book on Kanayama Megaliths and the Solar Calendar

A book on the Kanayama Megaliths and their solar calendar is in preparation. Written in English and Japanese by the original researchers, the book will be the first thorough description of the megaliths and all their functions, and all the observations possible at the triple site.

 

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Doumu “Snack-bar” Opens in Kanayama Town

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Kanayama Town, although suffering from recent floods, is recovering. Just a few doors north of the new Kanayama Megaliths Research Center and Gallery is the スナック (sunakku) “snack-bar” Doumu. After torrential rains last year, the lodging house Fukuzumi no longer operates. However, the ground-level cocktail lounge has been completely remodeled and its warm interior is now ready for customers.

Doumu has a full range of alcoholic drinks ranging from traditional sake, shochu, beer and whiskey to a lovely pair of red and white wines from Spain. While “Master” fixes your drink just the way you like it, “Mama-san” prepares a variety of delicious hot and cold snacks. (Ask her to make the soy-sauce-less fried noodles which we requested last time we were there.  🙂  )

 

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The New Kanayama Megaliths Research Center and Gallery Opens

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Kanayama Megaliths Research Center and Gallery has been relocated along National Highway No. 41 on the Hida Highway former post road in Kanayama Town. The opening took place in December 2018.

Location : Kanayama Kanayama 2142-4 (Izumimachi, Kanayama).  Tel : 0909-7306-4119.  FAX.0576-34-0073.  E-mail: oofuku@fancy.ocn.ne. jp.

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Gallery displaying photos and posters of Kanayama Megaliths

 

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Red dot is location of Kanayama Megaliths Research Center and Gallery. Green line is the old Hida post road. North-south on the left is National Highway 41. North-south on the right is the JR Takayama line, showing Hida Kanayama station.

See more (in Japanese) on the Kanayama Megaliths blogsite.  There is also a Google map there.

 

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Winter and Summer Solar Observations at Shrines and Kanayama

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Winter at Ise Jingu. Photo by K. Sugisaka taken on 2019.01.27.

WINTER SOLSTICE

As you know from the previous post about welcoming the new year at Asadori Myoujin shrine, the winter solstice ceremony marks the beginning of a new year.

Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture is an ancient Shinto shrine. Throngs of people visit Ise Jingu, especially in January. To view the sunrise over the Ise Jingu torii in winter is a popular and sacred event from ancient times until even now. 

When we received this photo from Sugisaka-san, although it was taken in the afternoon more than a month after the winter solstice, it reminded us of similar solar observations that take place at the Kanayama Megaliths. On the pages of Iwakage, Okunomichi, and WoshiteWorld, we have described other ways in which ancient people have watched the sun. 

OBSERVATIONS AT KANAYAMA MEGALITHS

Summer Observations at Kanayama Megaliths

For the readers of Iwakage’s blog, we remind you that the Kanayama Megaliths have solar observations before and after the summer solstice, at Senkoku-ishi.

3/21 – 9/23, 90 days before and after summer solstice, the sun rises over Stone C at Senkoku-ishi.

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Sunrise over Stone C, summer.

4/22 – 8/20, 60 days before and after summer solstice, an arrow-shaped spot of light appears in the chamber of Senkoku-ishi, reaching the left end of a stone board on summer solstice day.

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Arrowhead of light inside Senkoku Ishi, summer.

5/21 – 7/22, 30 days before and after summer solstice, a dashed line appears in Senkoku-ishi. A striking dashed spotlight appears which is enjoyed by many, year after year.

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Dashed spotlight in Senkoku Ishi, summer 30 days before and after

Winter Observations at Kanayama Megaliths

10/23 – 2/20, 60 days before and after the winter solstice, at Higashinoyama, the sunrise is viewed between Stones R and S.

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Winter sunrise at Higashinoyama, Stones R and S.

The above four images are from the Guidebook of Kanayama Megaliths.

OBSERVATIONS OF SUMMER SOLSTICE IN HAWAII

Twenty-five days before and after the summer solstice in Honolulu, the sun will pass directly overhead at local noon. This, too, can be an indicator of summer solstice day exactly midway between the zenith dates. This event is popularly called Lahaina Noon.

OBSERVATIONS AT ISE JINGU

Winter Solstice Sunrise Observation at Ise Jingu

Sugisaka-san has provided the following information about the sunrise event. On winter solstice morning, the sun rises over the center of the eastern torii at Uji bridge. One month prior to, and one month after, winter solstice day, the sun rises from the trees on the left of the torii. This page on the Ise Jingu website shows the winter sunrise event,  

 

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Winter solstice sunrise at Ise Jingu, postcard by Kankan.

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Asadori Winter Matsuri 2018

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Sacred and Science

The Asadori Myoujin Jinja has been observing a sacred winter solstice ceremony for thousands of years, since Jomon times. The Kanayama Megaliths have been tracking the path of the sun for the purpose of a solar calendar for five thousand years. How are they connected? For a ritual to be conducted exactly on the sacred day, in this case winter solstice day, the people had to know the calendar correctly to one day. Ancient Jomon people constructed the megalithic observatory which serves this purpose. Many old shrines, such as the Asadori Myoujin, have been laid out facing the direction of the winter solstice sunrise, and this also requires knowledge of solar astronomy.

Winter Solstice Matsuri, 2018

The Asadori Myoujin Jinja’s winter solstice matsuri took place at dawn on December 22, 2018. There was a driving rain, but many people were present. There was a bonfire outside the torii, for warmth and light. In clear weather, the rising sun would send its light through the torii to the altar at the small shrine. This morning, a canopy had been erected in front of the altar for some protection from the rain.

The ceremony opened with Baba-san, the negi-san (senior priest), leading with three calls of the Asadori (morning bird):

Ka-ke-e-ko-o-o!
Ka-ke-e-ko-o-o!
Ka-ke-e-ko-o-o!
The group replied:
O-o-o-o!
Senior priest Baba-san explained that they raised their voices joyously to greet the sun as it rises on winter solstice day. The guji-san chief priest recited a norito to Asadori Myoujin in gratitude for blessing the earth with the return of the sun to the northern skies.
After the formal ceremony, Baba-san lauded the kokoro (heart-mind) of those present for braving the heavy rain at dawn. Then, he announced that his 96th birthday would be the following day. After a lifetime of serving in this matsuri, he was stepping down and turning it over to his son.
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96 year-old Baba-san
and Guji-san in foreground

 

Photos by Chika-san.

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Winter Solstice 2018

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Higashinoyama winter solstice sunrise, 9:04 am December 24, 2018.

Higashinoyama

We reported on winter solstice 2017 at the Kanayama Megaliths. Winter solstice took place on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 7:22 am in Japan. It was cloudy on the 22nd and the 23rd. On the 24th, a group hiked up Higashinoyama for a successful observation. Above is Chika’s photo of the rising sun as seen from the observing megalith, on December 24, 2018 at 9:04 am. Although the time of sunrise was 6:58 am, it took two hours for the sun to be seen at the megalith, even though it is on top of a mountain, due to the terrain and the trees.

Senkoku-Ishi

The group returned to Senkoku-Ishi and waited for the sunset. Official time of sunset was 4:45 pm, but the sun sinks out of sight earlier. The view from between Stones B and B’ at 4:03 pm is magnificent, as seen in Chika’s photo below.

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Simulator

The Simulator near Senkoku-ishi models the observation of sun beams at five different times of the year. In the early afternoon of winter solstice day, December 22, 2018, at 13:29:00, the following photo was taken by K.S.

 

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Beginning of Winter at Kanayama Megaliths

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There are several new posts at our Japanese counterpart of the the Kanayama Megaliths blog. On 10/23, sixty days before winter solstice, a group trekked up Higashinoyama to see the sunrise. Above is the photo, and this is the 9-meter long stone on which the observer sits.

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The group came down the mountain and went to Iwaya-Iwakage. Here is the sunlight entering the chamber at 12:50pm.

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On 10/24, this striking pattern appeared on the Sekimen-ishi.

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We remind you of the similarity of the Kanayama calendar with the Egyptian calendar. On this date, the rising sun shines into the stone room at the end of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel. Also, the sun rises from the Sphinx on the causeway to the great pyramid of Khafre.

We hope that you have enjoyed these reports of the solar calendar of the Kanayama Megaliths, still operating after 5,000 years!

 

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