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.

Kimi no Na Wa (the Movie Your Name) and the Land of Hida

Posters of Hida Kanayama by Shiho Tokuda

The Movie Kimi no Na wa (君の名は)

Did you know that the block-buster move, Your Name, takes place in Hida as well as in Tokyo? Not only is it a terrific movie, it is highly relevant to followers of this Iwakage blogsite about Kanayama Megaliths and Hida Kanayama.

Hida Furukawa is the real-life name of the movie town of Itomori where Mitsuha lives with her sister and grandmother. Through life in Itomori, we learn about traditional culture, shrine rituals and festivals. We eventually come to realize the deeper meaning of the movie. We discussed some this on the Okunomichi blogsite. 

https://okunomichi.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/kimi-no-na-wa-and-musubi/

https://okunomichi.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/twilight/

There are many hits when you search on keywords from the movie. You can easily find the places in Tokyo where the scenes in the movie take place. With a little more effort, you’ll learn the places in Hida that are depicted. People are talking about pilgrimages to these places in Hida.

May I suggest a mini-pilgrimage to the Kanayama Megaliths?

Now, let’s point out some scenes from the movie that are relevant when visiting Hida and Kanayama.

Hida Kanayama Train Station

If you take the Hida Wide-View express train to Hida Kanayama station, you already know how quaint the station is. There is the station-master’s room (and sometimes he’s not even there when you arrive). There are only two tracks, one going north and the other south. There is a covered overpass with stairs at each end (no elevator) to cross over the tracks. The train station in the movie is modeled after the Furukawa station. It looks almost exactly like the Hida Kanayama station!

Posters of Kanayama

Inside the waiting room of the Hida Kanayama station, there are some very large posters showing the beautiful vistas of Kanayama and the Kanayama Megaliths. These are the creations of our very own Shiho Tokuda. You can see three of her posters at the top of the earlier post.  And here they are again. There is a scene in the movie where Taki’s friends are in the lobby discussing the trip to Itomori. In the background behind Miki Okudera and Tsukasa can be seen the bottom halves of posters. The posters resemble, but are not the same as Kanayama Megaliths, the waterfalls, and the kinkotsu walking tour of Kanayama.   

The Megalith

The goshintai of Grandmother’s shrine is the megalith in the center of the meteor crater. Mitsuha goes there with Grandmother and leaves the kuchikamizake there in the iwaya cavern of the megalith. Later, Taki enters the cavern and finds the sake. Not all megalithic structures in Japan have caverns, so this is unusual. Although the megalith in the movie does not physically resemble the Iwaya-Iwakage of the Kanayama Megaliths, I felt that they were still very similar to each other. If you have been inside the Iwaya-Iwakage, you may have the same feeling of sanctity and mystery.

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Photo of Myoken Shrine in the cavern of Iwaya-Iwakage

I can’t help but feel that Makoto Shinkai, before making the movie, went to Kanayama and visited the Kanayama Megaliths. He has a deep sense of the nature of the land of Hida. Why don’t you come and discover Hida Kanayama for yourself?

 

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May 23 Sunrise over Stone C

During the summer observational season, the sun clears the top of Stone C, as seen from Stone A, near the middle. As page 31 of the Guidebook shows, the sun is at the exact center on summer solstice day, 6/21. That is as far north, i.e., to the left, as it can go.

The three photos above were taken by Chika-san on May 23 from 8:25 to 8:26 am. The sun on that day appeared slightly to the right of center because there are still around 29 days to go before summer solstice.

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May 23 Morning Sunlight on Lower Grotto

These photos were taken by Chika-san at sunrise on May 23, 2017 at Senkoku-ishi. We are looking at Stone A, standing near Stone C with our back to the rising sun. The first two photos were taken at 6:22 and at 6:28 am. Notice that the sun has risen and shines on the upper right part of Stone A, but the grottos are not yet illuminated. The third and fourth photos were taken at 6:36 and at 6:42 am. The shadow of Stone C on A is now clearly seen, and the lower grotto is still in shade at 6:36 but it is lit at 6:42am. The final photo is a close-up of the opening of the lower grotto at 6:42.

Please refer to page 30 in the Guidebook. The three photos shown on that page are dated 4/22, 6/21, and 8/20. The date of 4/22 is about 60 days before the summer solstice. The lower grotto is in deep shadow. The date of 6/21 is the summer solstice when the grotto is fully illuminated.

The photos we show above were taken around thirty days before the summer solstice. They show us how the lower grotto is gradually illuminated, minute by minute.

 

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May 22 and 23 at Senkoku-ishi

May 22, the second day of the dashed spotlight.

Today, the dashed light is clearer than it was yesterday. The bottom dash is slight, but it hits the corner. From tomorrow the width of this light becomes thicker and stronger; the light can be regarded as a dotted line until about the fifth day, the 25th of May.

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May 23, the third day of the dashed spotlight.

The observation is impressive today. A dash starts appearing one by one from the top. It takes about three minutes for up to six dashes to appear (see closeup below).

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この三角状の石面の凹凸も計算されているのでしょうか!? 完全に遊んでますね。

Is the roughness of this triangular stone surface deliberate? It plays perfectly!

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The dashed lights move downward. Approximately 3 minutes until the sixth dash appears. The six dashes will eventually disappear, one by one from the bottom. The show time of the dashed line spotlight continued for 30 minutes after it started.

 

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May 21 at Senkoku-ishi

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May 21 (Sun) First day of dashed line of light

Chunichi Shimbun reported the event.  Compared with yesterday, May 20th, we could clearly see four dashes of light today. We were interviewed by reporter Matsumoto from Chunichi Shimbun. It is the spotlight observation in Senkoku-ishi that takes place around 1 pm, thirty days before the summer solstice. The WEB NEWS is here Chubu Chunichi Shimbun (Hida) May 24, 2017. The visitors today were mainly from outside the prefecture. They began gathering at 12:30 pm.

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And at night we lit the Big Dipper cup-marks. We were worried there might be clouds, but fortunately we could see the starry sky. Visitors from the prefecture arrived at 7:30 pm.

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We could see the Big Dipper lying above us. Can you see it at the top of this photo? And low in the sky, Polaris sits above the megalithic group. This may be somewhat difficult to see but it is surely there in the photograph.

The Polar Star and the Big Dipper are far apart now, but about 5000 years ago they were closer. In other words, the North Star rotated around nearer the megaliths.

And when you connect seven of the nine cup-marks engraved on the megalith, the shape of the Big Dipper emerges. Isn’t it fantastic!

As you can see the picture above, the shapes of the actual Big Dipper and the stone cup-marks are mirror images. We do not know why this is so, but ancient people, in ruins around the world, also have inverted the shapes in the same way. And as to what the other two cup-marks mean … It seems that we contemporary people do not have any explanation.

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Most of the universe is unknown. Modern people have only a small amount of information of the whole, and there is no way we can even deny the possibilities of ancient times. In this sense, the Kanayama megalithic group can be said to be an instrument that not only measures time but also can measure the thinking power of people.

In any case … the enjoyment of the starry sky finished around 9:30 pm. We are considering starry sky viewing once more this summer, with the solar observation society in July or August. Next time, the Big Dipper will not be seen as it will be hidden behind a tree, but we want to do a cup-mark lighting. We want to watch the Amanogawa Milky Way and the Summer Triangle (of the stars Altair, Deneb, and Vega). We hope to share our passion with many of you.

 

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May 20 at Senkoku-ishi

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http://blog.livedoor.jp/kanayama_tour-kanayamamegaliths/archives/1066078821.html

2017年05月20日

夏至30日前★予告   30 days before Summer Solstice ★ Advance Notice

The temperature went up to 29 degrees, clear weather today. Daytime is green and the purple kiri (paulownia) is blooming. At night the kajika frog announces the beginning of summer.

Summer begins at the Kanayama Megaliths today. As usual, the Sekimen-ishi is the site of summer observations.

Inside the cavern at one in the afternoon, the entering spotlight is shown grazing the side of the megalith. Look carefully at the triangular protrusion and you’ll see two or three spots of light.

Today there are three spots. The dashed line will start to appear tomorrow, and the count-down begins. Today’s light is not clear; as in a leap-year, it alternates between two and three spots. The dashed-line spotlight will be clear and will certainly be recognized by everyone watching tomorrow. On the 21st, the actual observation begins. And the real pleasure begins!

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