Homeland to Izumo Mythology

Izumo region, a homeland to mythology associated with the creation of Japan, has long been sanctified since ancient times. Many sites, customs, and folklore, in association with mythology, remain in this region. A number of tales are set in Izumo and have been recorded in the oldest Japanese chronicles, ‘Kojiki’ and ‘Fudoki.’ Unnan City, located at the southern edge of the Izumo region, has several sites relating to the tales of impetuous god Susanoo-no-Mikoto, in particular.

The Tales of Susanoo-no-Mikoto and Yamata-no-Orochi

Susanoo-no-Mikoto is the younger brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu and is believed to be born from his father god, the Creator Izanagi’s nose when Izanagi was performing ablution. Okuizumo region was the first site where Susanoo landed after his descent from the heaven, Takaamahara. The tales of Yamata-no-Orochi, the eight-headed and eight-tailed serpent, are the mythology of Susanoo, who defeated the monster who was terrorizing the area.
The legend goes that an iron sword called Ameno-Murakumo-no-Tsurughi, one of the Three Imperial Treasures today, was discovered in the tail of the serpent by Susanoo.
The tales of Susanoo are often interpreted as a story of Tatara ironmaking. Hii River experienced frequent floods and the people who lived in the downstream basin suffered. The floods were due to unwanted sand washed down from the upstream by Kanna-nagashi that was deposited onto the riverbed and made the river shallower. The story had been a source of inspiration and played in Kagura, a traditional sacred dance performance, since the Edo period.

Izumo style Kagura ‘Yamata-no-Orochi.’