Characters of Each Shrine and Temple

第一番 出雲大社 「譲」yuzu(ru)
No. 1 Izumo Taisha Shrine

This character means to yield or to concede. Okuninushino-okamisama, the God of Izumo Taisha, rose to become a better God by conceding and yielding, and is worshipped as the main God, fondly known as the smiling Daikokusama.
By following the ideal of 'one for all and all for one', and by making compromises, we are able to live in peace and harmony.

第二番 鰐淵寺 「瀧」taki
No. 2 Gakuenji Temple

This character means waterfall and represents the belief in the power of the waterfall and holy water at Gakuenji Temple. In 594 AD, Chishun Shonin prayed at the waterfall that the Empress's eyes would be healed. He made an offering of holy water gushing out from the rocks, and at that moment the Empress's eyes were cured.

第三番 一畑寺 「医」i
No. 3 Ichibata Yakushi Temple

This character means medicine or healing. The main deity of the temple 'Yakushi-ruriko-nyorai' is also known as the Healing Buddha. He carries a medicine bottle in his left hand and his right hand makes the protective abhayaprada mudra which symbolizes fearlessness. He protects our physical and spiritual health.

第四番 佐太神社 「導」michibi(ku)
No. 4 Sada Shrine

This character means to guide or to lead. The deity of Sada Shrine is known as the God of expelling disaster and inviting luck, of long life, of preventing accidents on land and at sea, of purifying the earth, of connecting people and of safe childbirth. He is the God that guides us on a happy and fruitful path through life.

第五番 月照寺 「昧」mai
No. 5 Gesshoji Temple

Gesshoji Temple is the resting place of the Lords of Matsue. The 7th lord, Matsudaira Harusato, who was named Fumai-ko, was called the greatest tea master of that time, and was a lifelong practitioner of Zen. The character 'mai', means 'darkness', 'deception' or 'foolishness'. Fumai is the opposite, and is a state you reach through self-reflection.

第六番 賣布神社 「浄」kiyo(meru)
No. 6 Mefu Shrine

This character means pure.
The way of the Gods is to live in accordance with the principles of nature and the universe. However, in life we encounter evil and commit sin, and become unclean. As such, it is necessary to purify oneself and return to the original self, mentally and physically.

第七番 華蔵寺 「薬」kusuri
No. 7 Kezoji Temple

This character means medicine.
From ancient times the main deity Makuragi Yakushi-ruriko-nyorai was worshipped by the imperial family and lords for being effective against a variety of illnesses. In particular, it is said to have special powers for fertility, safe child-birth, children's growth and the elimination of toxins. Praying quietly will help you to overcome illness.

第八番 美保神社 「知」shi(ru)
No. 8 Miho Shrine

This character means to know.
The name of the deity is Kotoshironushino-kami, which can be translated as 'the one who knows things'. Put simply, the God teaches and guides us in our actions and behaviour in everyday life, and so the name expresses the essence of wisdom. The character also expresses the fact that another God, 'Mihotsuhimeno-mikoto' passed on the know-how of agricultural skill to the people.

第九番 大神山神社 「神」kami
No. 9 Ogamiyama Shrine
The character means God.
It represents the God Onamuchino-mikoto who created the land along with the other Gods, and those of the mountains and light. The character is also a part of the name of Ogamiyama, which means mountain with Gods, and is the symbol of the Gods of the earthly realm who created the land.

第十番 大山寺 「智」chi
No. 10 Daisenji Temple
This character means wisdom and it appears in the name of the jizo-bodhisattva 'Daichimyodai-gongen' who is the deity of Ryobu-shugo - Shinto and Buddhist syncretism. The character for wisdom, which appears in the name of the God, means to understand oneself, decide between right and wrong, and to get rid of one's bonnou, or defilements. This is the wish of the jizo-bodhisattva.

第十一番 清水寺 「慈」itsuku(shimu)
No. 11 Kiyomizu Temple
This character means benevolence.
It is often said that to forget the self and to serve others is the ultimate form of benevolence, and in Buddhism it is the most precious of spirits and carries many merits. We should realize that we are protected and able to live because of the compassion of the Gods and Buddha, and should work hard to develop a benevolent heart.

第十二番 雲樹寺 「禅」zen
No. 12 Unjuji Temple
This character means that we, the people, cleanse the earth and deify the Gods of the mountains and rivers, which means to worship nature. We are grateful for the universe, the air, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains and plants.

第十三番 平濱八幡宮 武内神社 「命」inochi
No, 13 Hirahama Hachimangu / Takeuchi Shrine

This character means life.
The God of Takeuchi Shrine, Takeuchisukuneno-mikoto is said to have had a very long life, and so is widely worshipped as the God of longevity. We hope that some of this fortune rubs off on you and that you enjoy a healthy and long life.

第十四番 八重垣神社 「結」musu(bu)
No. 14 Yaegaki Shrine

This character means to tie or to join.
The Gods of this shrine Susano-o-no-mikoto and Inatahime-mikoto appear in the well-known legend of the slaying of Yamato-orochi, the eight-headed dragon. They are revered as the Gods of en-musubi, or the joining of people through 'en', marital harmony, fertility and for expelling calamity and misfortune. In our lives, the connections between all things depend on 'en'.

第十五番 熊野大社 「火」hi
No. 15 Kumano Taisha Shrine

This character means fire.
Since ancient times, fire has benefited the lives of humans in all aspects and is central to the growth of culture. Kumano Taisha Shrine has a particularly deep relationship with fire. The holy fire of Kumano Taisha is itself the divine spirit and is treated with the utmost reverence.

第十六番 須我神社 「授」sazu(karu)
No. 16 Suga Shrine

This character means to be granted or awarded.
By praying, we hope to be blessed, not only with fertility which grants us children, but also happiness and luck.

第十七番 峯寺 「阿」a
No. 17 Mine Temple

This character, pronounced 'a', is the first character in the Siddham script which is used to write Sanskrit. It is the beginning of life and of all things in the universe and is the mother of all sounds. The character points to Dainichi-nyorai, the Buddha who represents the whole universe. In Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, by understanding this character 'a', you will find the Buddha within.

第十八番 須佐神社 「素」so/su
No. 18 Susa Shrine

This character is seen in the name of the God Susano-o-no-mikoto, and it means the origin, essence, and sincerity. It also means to show gratitude to one's ancestors and the source of all things, the divine spirit.

第十九番 長浜神社 「綱」tsuna
No. 19 Nagahama Shrine

This character means rope.
The land pulling legend of Kunibiki says that the God of the shrine, Yatsukamizuomitsununo-mikoto, pulled in land from across the sea using a rope and by doing so, instilled and nurtured new life. The rope also represents the virtue of bringing things or people together, and is an implement that enriches peoples' lives and brings us good fortune.

第二十番 日御碕神社 「守」mamo(ru)
No. 20 Hinomisaki Shrine

This character means to protect.
Hinomisaki Shrine was established when it was ordered that a shrine be built on the coast of Kiyoe in Hinomisaki, Izumo Province to protect Japan after nightfall. Later it became a holy site to worship the evening sun, and rituals held in honour of the sun are held throughout the seasons. The Gods are deeply revered as bringers of good fortune.