Traveling along the “Road of Sun”

Sasayuri-ann is practically on the “Road of Sun,” but to be exact, it is situated at lat. 34°59 N., and about 5km to the north of Muro-ji Temple.

Fortunately, Sasayuri-ann is facing due east. Looking straight ahead, Sasayuri-ann has a spectacular view of Murou-Akame-Aoyama Quasi-National Park with Mt. Kuroso at its highest peak. Ise Jingu Shrine is beyond the mountain. Due to such geographical advantages, the blessings of the sun and the great nature will awe the guests staying at Sasayuri-ann from dawn to sunrise. Enjoy the romantic pilgrimage in the ancient land of Yamato that exists since the foundation of Japan; Ise Jingu Shrine -Muro-ji Temple -Hase-dera Temple -Mt. Miwa -Mt. Nijo - Otori Shrine -Iwakami Shrine.

Many archeological sites are aligned on the same latitude along the east-west axis of lat. 34°32 N. from Ise, Mt. Miwa and to Awaji Island. On “Spring Equinox Day” and “Autumnal Equinox Day,” these sites align straight along the Road of Sun from sunrise to sunset. As ancient Japanese lead a life based on rice cultivation, it is only natural to assume that they awed and observed the sun and its impact, and consequently discovered, pursued and determined holy grounds on the same latitude. Ancient Japanese may have gathered geographical data by observing the angles of the sun and sunlight, and eventually had each of its religiously important sites for rituals and festivals along a ley line―the Road of Sun

While Prince Nigihayahi got on Amenoiwafune (heavenly vessel) and flew in the big sky, he saw this piece of land and descended from the heaven. Therefore, this land was named “Soramitsu-yamato-no-kuni”.

Although it is a myth, the story of Prince Nigihayahi is unique and mysterious, reminding us of an unidentified flying object, UFO; he flew the sky on a heavenly vessel and landed in this area.

The word soramitsu derives from an entry in Jinbuki of “Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan),” which reads “The country of Yamato, a country that was chosen to be good when viewed from the sky.” (Soramitsu is ancient Japanese which means “seen from the sky.”)

Kozo Ogawa, the author of “Yamato no genzo: Kodai saishi to Sujin Ocho,” advocates the “Road of Sun,” “sacred ley line,” and “soramitsu yamato no kuni.”

Hashihaka-Ancient Tomb as the starting point:Since ancient times, Japan has been called the land of abundant rice; rice cultivation is closely related to sun worship, and the origin of the religious faith of Japanese started at this very place. Yamato-Hashihaka-Ancient Tomb, the starting point of the “Road of Sun,” is assumed to be the tomb of Yamato-totohimomoso-hime, the princess of the 7th Emperor Korei. Seen from the summit of Mt. Miwa, Hashihaka is the point where the sun goes down, and is thought to be built intentionally on the same latitude. Two centuries after Hashihaka was constructed, Princess Yamato, who completed her important mission of Moto-ise (a quest for finding an ideal sanctuary for the goddess of the sun), also built and dwelt in the ceremonial palace on the same latitude.

About Mt. Oosaka (Anamushitouge): The relation between Hashihaka-Ancient Tomb and Mt. Oosaka implies the ley line of the “Road of Sun.” According to Nihon-shoki (Chronicles of Japan) “this tumulus was built by people during daytime and by deities at night. Stones of Mt. Oosaka was transported and used. People lined up and stones were passed on by hand from the mountain to the tomb.”

About Hibara Shrine: Amaterasu-omikami, who was enshrined in the imperial palace for a long time, was transferred for the first time to Kasanui village of Yamato by Princess Toyosukiri (the first Saio Priestess) during the reign of the 10th Emperor Sujin. This very place was Hibara Shrine.

About Mt. Nijo: Take a glance of Yamato basin from under the straw festoon in Hibara Shrine; you will see a beautifully shaped Mt. Nijo to the west. Mt. Nijo is famous for its sunset with a fantastic view. It is understandable that the ancient Japanese became conscious of the ley line.

About Site of Ise Saigu: Actually, this ley line of the “Road of Sun” is closely related to the mission of Moto-ise; the purpose was to protect the important treasures (symbol of the imperial family) from external enemies and to store them in a safe place. At that time the political situation was domestically and internationally unstable, and thus the princess was ordered to set on a journey to take measures against the threat of war. The 11th Emperor Suinin ordered Princess Yamato to go on this mission. After a long search, she finally found Ise as a secure place to enshrine the most sacred deity and treasures. Since then, Hibara Shrine has been called Moto-ise (literally translated as ex- Ise).
Saigu, the end of Princess Yamato’s journey where the sacred treasures were stored in secrecy, was on the ley line of lat. 34°32 N.

About Iwagami Shrine: Funaki, a powerful clan who had power over the sea in ancient times, lead and protected Princess Yamato during her voyage. However, instead of settling down in Ise, it is assumed that Funaki traveled to Awaji Island via Kii and built Iwagami Shrine on the same latitude as Mt. Miwa to prove his journey. Until now, the address of the shrine is called Funaki District of Kyu-hokudancho, Awaji Island; “Funaki,” deriving from the clan, still exists as a geographic name.

About Otori Shrine: Otori Shrine in Sakai, Osaka, enshrines Yamato-takeru-no-mikoto (Prince Yamato-takeru) as its deity. Prince Yamato-takeru was the nephew of Princess Yamato who achieved the imperial mission, and it is a well-known tale that he received the kusanagi sword from Princess Yamato upon his eastern expedition. There is also a very famous poem Yamato-takeru composed with nostalgia: “Yamato, the best place in the country; a truly beautiful land surrounded by layers of mountains like a blue-green fence.
It is said that after Prince Yamato-takeru passed away in the land of Nobono in Ise, his corpse transformed into a big white swan, flew to the west and landed in Otori Taisha Shrine. Here again, the Road of Sun is implied, as the swan flew from the east of Kii peninsula to the west ley line.
As such, the “Road of Sun” has a deep connection to the mission of Moto-ise which is related to the worship of Amaterasu-omikami. ”

About Muro-ji Temple: In the end of Nara period, five monks prayed in Mt. Muro when Prince Yamanobe (who became the 50th Emperor Kanmu who reigned from CE 781-806) fell ill. As the prayer had been remarkably effective, it earned Muro-ji Temple to be established for the sake of the nation. The fact that Hibara Shrine, Mt. Miwa and Mt. Murou is on the same line indicates Mt. Muro’s relationship to the ancient heliolithic rituals.
According to an old record of Muro-ji Temple, there used to be a sacred gem in Mt. Muro, and its manifested form became Amaterasu-omikami. This legend may have been passed down as it was a holy ground of sun worship. Muro-ji Temple was constructed at the foot of such mountain.

       
Itinerary
Day 1:Visit Ise Jingu Shrine (Ise City, Mie Prefecture)
Check-in and stay at Sasayuri-an
Day 2:Muro-ji Temple (Uda City, Nara Prefecture)
Hase-dera Temple (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture)
Mt. Miwa Oomiwa Jinja Shrine (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture)
Hibara Jinja Shrine (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture)
Stay at Sasayuri-ann
Day 3: Check-out from Sasayuri-ann
Otori Taisha Shrine (Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture)
Iwakami Shrine (Awaji Island)
Izanagi Jingu Shrine (Awaji Island)
End of tour