The village of Shiiba-son in Higashiusuki-gun, Miyazaki, is one of Japan’s three major hidden scenic spots. It has numerous sightseeing spots such as the Tsurutomi Yashiki residence and Shiiba Itsukushima Shrine. The warriors of the Heike Clan, who had fled to the area after their resounding defeat at the hands of the rival Genji Clan in the 12th century, sought refuge and lived in Shiiba-son. Tsurutomi Yashiki was the site of a tragic love story between Daihachiro Munehisa Nasu of the Genji Clan and Princess Tsurutomi of the Heike Clan. It is said that Shiiba Itsukushima Shrine was built in sympathy for the remnants of the once-mighty Heike Clan. Today, the shrine still watches over the village, answering prayers for traffic safety and protection against misfortune.
Daihachiro Munehisa Nasu traveled to the area in pursuit of the fleeing Heike warriors in 1191. Determining, however, that there was no chance that the Heike Clan would ever be able to regain its former power, he abandoned his pursuit and eventually returned to his own home province. While stationed in Shiiba, Munehisa met and fell in love with Princess Tsurutomi, who later bore him a daughter. It is said that Tsurutomi made her daughter take a husband and that she made him bear the name, Nasu Shimotsuke-no-kami in honor of her lover. The family name of Nasu carries on even today.
This is the setting of the tragic love story of Daihachiro Nasu and Princess Tsurutomi. This residence is built in an architectural style that is unique to Shiiba, with large, thick timbers. Based on the construction techniques employed in the building, the residence is estimated to have been built around 300 years ago. It was designated as an important cultural property of Japan in 1956.
All of the rooms of the house are built alongside each other in a single row and a long veranda lines the front of the building. This architectural style makes the most of the topography of the mountain village, using the limited flat land available among its many slopes. When it was first designated as an important cultural property, the house had a thatched roof, but it was replaced with a sheet copper roof in 1963 to protect the building against fire.
Daihachiro Munehisa Nasu was ordered to take pursuit of the warriors of the Heike Clan, who had fled after their defeat in the Battle of Dan-no-ura (1185). However, when he found the remnants of the clan hiding away on Mount Shiiba, stripped of their spirit of rebellion, he took great pity on them, and it is said that he had this shrine built in Shiiba, inviting the guardian deity of Miyajima Island’s Itsukushima Shrine in Aki (today’s Hiroshima), the ancestral home of the Heike Clan, to take up residence at the shrine.
The shrine, which has been known since ancient times as Itsukushima Daimyojin Shrine, stands solemnly at the top of a small hill overlooking the village. Its tutelary deity is venerated as the god of traffic safety, protection against misfortune, and women. The god Ichikishimahime-no-mikoto is enshrined here together with the god Susano-no-mikoto.
Daihachiro Nasu is said to have planted this cedar tree in Tone when he visited Shiiba during the Genkyu period (1204-1206). The cedar was given the name "Yamura Cedar" because Tonegawa Shrine used to be called Yamura Daimyojin Shrine. The tree was designated as a natural monument of Japan in 1935.
|Address||1822-4 Oaza Shimofukura, Shiiba-son, Higashiusuki-gun, Miyazaki|