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Dog, Monkey, Pheasant and...:
Kibitsu Shrine & Kibitsuhiko Shrine

Getting to Kibitsu Station:

Approx. 15 min. from Okayama Station on JR Momotaro Line ( JR Kibi Line )

Getting to Bizen Ichinomiya Station:

Approx. 12 min. from Okayama Station on JR Momotaro Line ( JR Kibi Line )

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Archery on Horseback Performed at Kibitsuhiko Shrine Shrine Priest in Kibitsu Shrine Japanese Traditional Harpists Performing at Concert

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  • Shrine Priests walking in Procession
  • Hydrangeas in Kibitsu Shrine's Garden
  • Unique Hip-and-Gable Roof of Kibitsu Shrine
  • Shinto Ritual at Autumn Festival

Explore Japanese Sacred World, and Enjoy Flowers and Festivals. - Kibitsu Shrine -

Kibitsu Shrine enshrines Kibitsuhiko no mikoto, the model of Momotaro, or Peach-boy, attended by a dog, a monkey and a pheasant, as the main deity. He is described as the hero in an ogre extermination legend. There are no literal materials which shows when it was founded. The main hall and the worship hall were reconstructed around 600 years ago over a period of 25 years. The elegant and unique hip-and-gable roof of the main hall is known as Kibitsu-zukuri style or Hiyoku-irimoya-zukuri style. The main hall is designated as a National Treasure in Japan along with the worship hall in front of it. It is also famous for its beautiful corridor with a length of 398 meters, or 1,306 feet.

Plum and cherry trees, hydrangeas, camellias and tree peonies are planted along the corridor. These flowers gladden visitors' eyes. Particularly in the season of hydrangea bloom, mid-June to early July, it is crowded with visitors, including kindergarteners.

It had a traditional event that followers, called ujiko, made rice cakes by pounding steamed rice in a large mortar with a pestle, accompanied by the beat of Japanese drums and the sound of shamisen, or long three stringed banjo-like instruments played with a plectrum, when the large roof was renewed every 50 to 60 years. The event is named Kibitsu no Shamisen Mochitsuki. Since 1973, it has been performed in the square beside the main hall on the first three days of the new year. In the morning of January 3, it also holds the event at which archers shoot their arrows to each direction high into the sky to pray for universal peace, the security of the nation and rich harvest, called Yatate no Shinji.

Annual Spring Festival is held to offer delicacies collected from all over Bitchu Province to the shrine that is the supreme shrine in the Province on the second Sunday of May, and Annual Autumn Festival on the second Sunday of October. A hundred and some dozens of followers called ujiko, following Shinto priests, walk up the long corridor solemnly in two lines, making an impressive scene. The representatives, in order, offer delicacies, which they themselves have prepared for Kibitsuhiko no mikoto and arranged on 75 small individual dining tables painted with black lacquer.

Legend says Eisai(1141-1215), who is the founder of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism, was born as a son of a Shinto priest of Kibitsu Shrine. He contributed greatly to the spread of Zen principles and tea culture in Japan after coming back from Southern Song China. A large stone monument in the shape of a green tea ceremony cup has been erected at the remains of his birthplace.

Getting here: 5 minutes on foot from Kibitsu Station on JR Momotaro Line (JR Kibi Line)

Click here to jump to the sightseeing map of Kibitsu

  • Kibitsuhiko Shrine
  • Torii Gate of Kibitsuhiko Shrine
  • Archery on Horseback at Annual Autumn Festival

Go Watch Japanese Traditional Cultural Events. - Kibitsuhiko Shrine -

Kibitsuhiko Shrine is closely related to Momotaro, a hero in a famous old Japanese tale on the theme of ogre extermination. A large stone gate, called torii, is flanked by a pair of Bizen ware statues of imaginary creatures resembling lions. At the summer solstice, around June 22, the morning sun rises behind the stone gate when viewed from the main hall. For this reason, the shrine is also called Asahi no Miya, or Morning Sun Shrine. A sacred cedar tree estimated to be over 1,000 years old stands by the worship hall.

On May 5, Koyasu Shrine's Annual Festival, the Children's Festival, is held to pray for the healthy growth of children and the success in life of them. Koyasu Shrine, located north of the main hall, was built by Toshitaka Ikeda, a feudal lord of Okayama Domain, who had not been blessed with children, to celebrate the birth of his son. Matchlock guns which belong to Okayama Castle Musket Troop are put on display and dress-up experiences in which participants can put on a samurai armor are granted. A traditional martial arts school shows the samurai art of drawing a sword and making a cut in a single motion. Children's Bitchu Kagura, based on ancient myths, and Uraja Dancing, based on an ogre extermination legend, are dedicated to the deities.

Rice Planting Festival takes place on August 2 and 3. A dance performance by elementary school girls representing rice planting and other Shrine rituals are dedicated to the deities for an abundant harvest. On the evening of August 2, it is vibrant with people doing Bon festival dance and night stalls.

Annual Autumn Festival to thank for a good harvest and to offer newly harvested rice to the shrine is held on the evening of the third Saturday of October and the following Sunday morning. On the Sunday, Japanese traditional archery on horseback, termed yabusame, is performed by two men, dressed in traditional hunting gear.

Getting here: 3 minutes on foot from Bizen Ichinomiya Station on JR Momotaro Line (JR Kibi Line)

Bicycle for rent available in front of Bizen-Ichinomiya Station

Sightseeing Map of Kibitsu