From Merged Shrines
Said to have been founded on Sept. 19, 707 when the work force of what was then Fusuma Village built a small shrine. Nothing more is heard of it until the 19th century, when a document found in the shrine tells us that a donation was made in 1817 and that by 1855 it had reached its present size and form.
Susano-o-Mikoto was considered to be the guardian deity of Fusuma Village; among many other things he wrote the oldest waka in the Japanese language and it is from this that the current name,Yakumo (八雲), derives <八雲立つ出雲八重垣妻籠みに八重垣作るその八重垣を> (This roughly translates as: Multi-layered clouds are rising. Here in Izumo they look like eight-layered fences. I'm making such a fence at the palace where I live with my wife, yes, an eight-layered fence.)
The large tree stump shown in this photo is of an oak tree. It was thought that dissolving shavings taken from the tree in water and drinking the concoction would help prevent coughing and cramps. So popular did this custom become and so many shavings taken from the tree that it eventually withered into its present form.
The shrine has three annual festivals—in January, May, and September—and it is the last one of these which is most important. It celebrates the exploits of Susano-o in slicing off the eight heads and tails of the Eight-Forked Serpent (Yamata-Orochi) and discovering the Ame-no-murakumo-no-Tsurugi, “Sword of the Gathering Cloud of Heaven” in the fourth tail. Note that the second of the shrin's three kami, Kushinada-hime, is the wife of Susano-o; in fact, it was to win her hand in marriage that he took on the Eight-Forked Serpent.
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