走水神社 Hashirimizu Jinja
Nearest station: Mabori Kaigan (KK63) Line: Keikyu Main
This is the eighteenth of my ex post facto shrine reports. I visited Hashirimizu Jinja in November 2004.
It is essentially a paean to the self sacrificing love of Ototachibana-mikoto for perhaps the most tragic of all Japan's tragic heres, Yamato Takeru. Self-sacrificing love notwithstanding, Ototachibana plays just a small part in the story of Yamato Takeru, the full version of which can be found here
The shrine’s home page tells us that in 110 A.D. Yamato Takeru was dispatched by his father, the then Emperor Keikō, to suppress a revolt by the Emishi people in what is now Northern Honshu. After a hazardous journey from Yamato he and his party, including his consort, Ototachibana, arrived at Hashiri-no-Mizu, now part of Yokosuka. They built a small imperial palace on the coast there and began preparing a ship to cross the Bay of Tokyo. During the process the local residents expressed deep adoration for Yamatao Takeru and Ototachibana and in return the former presented the residents with his crown.
From Merged Shrines
Inari Jinja 稲荷神社
(Yokosuka Jinja, Shinmei Jinja, Suwa Jinja)
Betsu Miya 別宮
Sui Jinja 水神社
Annual Festival: July 19
They then sealed it in a box shaped funerary urn made of stone, 石櫃, buried this in the ground and built what became Hashirimizu Jinja on top.
The ship then set sail but quickly encountered a violent storm which showed no signs of abating, and left the ship unable to either advance or return to shore. Ototachibana quickly divined that the malevolent kami of the sea had to be placated and that the only way this could be done was for her to offer up her life. This she did, with a poem on her lips; the storm abated, allowing Yamato Takeru to successfully prosecute his mission. The stone monument bearing her death poem was erected in 1910 and is very interesting in its own right. The calligraphy is from the hand of Princess Takeda Masako, the sixth daughter and tenth child of Emperor Meiji, and the monument was sponsored by six leading naval and military figures of the time, including four full admirals, one vice-admiral, one lieutenant general, and one civilian, a privy councillor. Of the full admirals Tōgō Heihachirō and Nogi Marusuke are the best known.