Izumo Shinbutsu Pilgrimage A Spiritual Journey

About the Enza-no-kai Organization

The Enza-no-kai Organization is made up of twenty shrines and temples in the prefectures of Shimane and Tottori, and combines the two religions of Shintoism and Buddhism. It was established with the aim of showing the world the importance of harmony and of respecting the 'en' that exist between us all, which has a long tradition in the Izumo region. We also hope that many people will come to the Izumo region, the birthplace of the Japanese spirit, and that on this spiritual journey they will look deep within and find themselves as being a part of the great universe. With this aim, the group established the Izumo Shinbutsu Pilgrimage.

The official pilgrimage logo. (Under application for design registration)
The logo symbolizes the figure of 8 pilgrimage route around Lake Shinji and Naka-umi Lagoon. The red spots are the shrines and the blue ones the temples. It is also a symbol of infinity spreading out into the future.

  Izumo Shinbutsu Pilgrimage -A Spiritual Journey


 The Izumo region lies in rural Shimane Prefecture, West Japan. The area is steeped in mythology and folklore and since ancient times has been known as the Land of the Gods and as the birthplace of the Japanese spirit. Wherever you go in the region - be it deep into the mountains, to the friendly towns and villages or even the modern day cities, you are never far from an ancient shrine or temple - which serves as a reminder that this is still very much the dwelling place of the Gods. The Izumo Shinbutsu Pilgrimage is made up of twenty of such shrines and temples which are part of the Enza-no-kai - an organization of shrines and temples. The route takes you deep into the heart of the Izumo region in a large figure of '8' along Lake Shinji, Naka-umi Lagoon and through some outstanding scenery. The pilgrimage is unique in the fact that it incorporates two religions, Shinto and Buddhism, however, you do not have to be a practitioner of Shinto or Buddhism to make this pilgrimage. Whatever your reason, be it an interest in Japanese history and mythology, a love of nature or the need for a break from the stresses and strains of modern living, you are most welcome to make this spiritual journey. We hope that as you make the pilgrimage you are touched by the 'en' that connects you to all things and cherish the harmony it brings. So take your time, soak up the history, savour the natural beauty of the area and enjoy your time here among the Gods and Buddhas!

The Founding Philosophy of the Enza-no-kai Organization

Throughout the province of Izumo, which appears in Japan's ancient mythology, such as the legends of Kunibiki and of Yamato-no-orochi, there are many old shrines and temples.

 The 10th month of the lunar calendar in Japan is known as the Month without Gods, however in Izumo it is known as the Month with Gods, because it is said that all the Gods of Japan descend on Izumo at this time.

 During this period many rituals and festivals are held.

These days there are many occurrences which cast dark shadows over our lives and relationships and have an adverse effect on world peace.

 It is as if our souls, the very root of our existence, and our way of life is being questioned.

 Izumo is the perfect place for one to search within and find oneself living as part of the great universe.

 The Izumo area has beautiful scenery, with the sea, mountains and rivers surrounding Lake Shinji and Naka-umi Lagoon, and life is simple and spiritually rich.

 Happiness is not just an emotion of the individual, but rather comes from the chain of hope between people all wanting to find happiness.

 For a long time the Izumo area has placed great importance on 'en', or the forces that connect us to one another, and we pray that this virtue will spread and touch all our hearts.

We established the Enza-no-kai in this area known as the birthplace of the Japanese spirit, with pride, and with the hope that many people will come together and make this spiritual journey, and that the goodness will ripple out and spread further and further.

 Through the Enza-no-kai, we join together the religions of Shintoism and Buddhism, and hope to understand both the joys and tribulations of our visitors, and help them discover something new.