Temples & Shrines: Izumo Taisha Shimane
Izumo Taisha 出雲大社
- Located in Izumo in Shimane Prefecture
- Japan's second most important shrine after Ise
- According to the legend, built by the goddess Amaterasu
- Set in wooded grounds
- Dedicated to Okuninushi
- Was once 48m tall and the highest wooden structure in Japan
Izumo Taisha History
Izumo Taisha, also known as Izumo Oyashiro, is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan having existed on its present site for 1500 years.
The current buildings date mostly from 1874 though the main building (honden) is older having been constructed in 1744. Izumo Taisha is the largest shrine structure in the country and registered as a National Treasure.
Covering an area of over 16 hectares, Izumo Taisha is approached through an avenue of ancient pine trees - matsu no sando - and surrounded by a double fence. The design of the main hall is based on the earliest style of architecture known in Japan and is in the form of an ancient dwelling.
One of Izumo Grand Shrine's presiding kami (gods) is Okuninushi-no-Mikoto, the Shinto deity of marriage and visitors here often come to pray for luck in finding a partner or to celebrate their marriage. In Japanese mythology Okuninushi is accredited with introducing agriculture, medicine and sericulture into Japan.