We were feeling very excited today, as we would be visiting 霧島神宮 Kirishima Shrine (aka Jingu), which worships 天孫瓊瓊杵尊 (Ninigi-no-mikoto), the grandson of 天照大神 (Amaterasu-omikami), the Sun Goddess.
According to Japanese mythology, Kirishima is the place where Ninigi-no-mikoto arrived in Japan, in accordance to Amaterasu-omikami’s orders to reign over the ancient Japan, and subsequently, his descendants were the Emperors of Japan, first being 神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō Emperor Jimmu.
We visited 鵜戸神宮 (Udo Jingu) Udo Shrine (2 days ago) which worships 鵜葺草葺不合命 Ugayafukiaezu-no-mikoto, the father of 神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō Emperor Jimmu and son of Ninigi-no-mikoto. Miyazaki is truly the land of Japanese Mythology, and there are many more shrines dedicated to these mythological deities.
We woke up bright and early to catch the 8:19am bus to 鵜戸神宮 (Udo Jingu) Udo Shrine (dedicated to 鵜葺草葺不合命 Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto “Unfinished Cormorant-Feather Thatching” , the father of 神武天皇 Jinmu-tennō Emperor Jimmu, the mythical first emperor of Japan).
It was a super cloudy day, but rain was expected later in the afternoon, as well as whole of tomorrow (due to a nearby typhoon), so today was the best day to go 日南 Nichinan area for 鵜戸神宮 Udo Jingu & 青島 Aoshima, and we had to make sure that we get up the first bus!
It was a pleasant morning ride with little traffic. We first passed by little houses and saw some farmers doing a bit of burning (perhaps to fertilise the soil?).
After 50 mins, we passed by 青島 Aoshima (which we would come back to later), and began to see the beautiful coastal view 😀 en route to 鵜戸神宮 Udo Jingu (another 40 mins).
We went to check out the many Torii gates at 伏見稲荷大社 Fushimi Inari in the morning, and we discovered that there were now many more Torii gates compared to our previous visit in 2011, making it an even prettier sight. As we were entering the shrine close to 9am, we saw a few visitors leaving 😮 There were easily at least another 20 visitors making their way up at the same time as us, but most of them were quite quiet and orderly in their movements, so it was a rather pleasant walk. Despite the cold, we soon got warm as we slowly made our way up to the view point. Our journey to and fro the view point was about an hour. We were glad we came early; by the time we made our descent, it became really crowded!
We had initially wanted to visit another island 直島 Naoshima Island today, but we realised that the ferry and bus timings were too few and not too compatible, and decided to give it a miss. After getting some suggestions from the Tourist Information Centre at 高松 Takamatsu, we decided to go to 琴平 Konpirasan (or sometimes spelt as Kompirasan), the location of the famous 金刀比羅宮 Kotohiragu Shrine, as there was plenty to shop, eat, see, and… Climb! Oh yes, it was a good 785 steps one way to the main hall of the shrine 😛
We still had a valid JR Rail Pass, so it was free for us to travel there. We took the 8:25am train from 高松駅 JR Takamatsu Station, and arrived at 9am to a still sleepy 琴平駅 JR Kotohira Station… There was hardly anyone around. The train station building itself was quite different from others, as it had this European-style to it.