Hotel Castle Inn Ise

3-5-55 Jinkyu, Ise, Mie Prefecture, 516-0017, Japan
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Travel Tips for Ise

Sarutahiko Shrine (Monkey man's shrine)

by KevinMichael

Sarutahiko Shrine is dedicated to a monkey god and one who is also the god of the way.

According to Japanese mythology, long ago the gods decided to descend from the Heavens to Earth. Sarutahikonomikoto was already living there. As celestial Amenouzumenomikoto (whose name in kanji means the terrible female of the heavens) arrived she met Sarutahiko. She decided that he was no threat and sent him to aid other gods on their way to Earth as well. Among them was Niniginomikoto (Ninigi for short). From this folklore were developed many dances performed mostly by women (called Sarumenokimi (monkey women)) for Shinto ceremonies. Monkeys represented in both Shinto and Buddhism in varies temples and shrines in Japan are viewed as agents against demons. The word saru actually means monkey in Japanese and it also means to expel.

Well, that makes for an interesting story, doesn't it.

Below is a website that provides a wealth of information on Japanese folklore relating to Shinto, Buddhism, and other belief systems:
Sarutahiko 

Now about the shrine, the shrine is a really nice one and doesn't seem to be as popular as Ise's main shrines (Naiku & Geku).

The shrine also has a pair of shishi lion-dogs standing guard. The lion-dogs were believed to have had magical power and able to keep evil spirits away. These are commonly seen in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan.

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