The shrine deity
Ameno Kagoyamano Mikoto who was the great grandchild of Amaterasu-Omikami (the sun goddess), is preserved in Yahiko Jinjya. The same place where after 4 years of enthronment as an emperor, Jimmu was given an imperial order to descended from Kishu Kumano to Yonemizugaura (former Teradomari Nozumi, currently Nagaoka city). He was taught how to make salt, and how to catch fish by using a net and a fish hook, as well as how to brew sake, among other things. Later on, he crossed Saruga baba and Mt. Amagoi, reaching Sakurai no sato(current Yahiko village).
There he purified his body with spring water in the village and faced north(where Yahiko Jinjya is now) and murmured “It’s truly foggy and dark even in the morning.” Then the town Sakuraigou was named after that. After settling down in Yahiko, he conquered the Koshi region and taught them the techniques of rice cultivation and brewing. And thanks to the cooperation of the descendants of six generations, the foundation of the industrial culture of the Echigo region was succesfully developed. He is worshiped as an early god of industrial culture of the Niigata region.
The deity had many names, when he resided in Kumano Shingu City, he was called Takakurajino Mikoto and also due to his teachings about fishery, he was also called Tagurihikono Mikoto, which is also written as Iyahiko.
At the foot of Mt. Yahiko, The Yahiko Jinjya is surrounded by a deep forest of Japanese cedar trees and japanese zelkova trees which are from 400 to 500 years old, filled with divine charm.
Ichi no Torii（First Torii Gate）
The torii was rebuilt in Taisho 5 years after the great fire in 1912 (45th year of the Meiji period). Located at the entrance which is called the path of the gods, there is a stone pillar written as a property mark “Myojin Taisha Echigo Ichinomiya(名神大社越後一の宮)” on the right hand side.
Both parts of the torii, have a height 8m 50cm, and of 6cm between the columns. This is where the name Yahiko Jinjya was writen at the center of the gate, by the pen of the royal family member Kan’in-no-miya Kotohito Shinno. That main pilar is supported by four pedestrian columns, floating about 6 cm from the ground, the explanation for this is that there is an earthquake-resistant structure behind it.
There is Ichi no Torii on the back, at the front you will find Daimon Town, at the left, Yahiko Jinjya (old shinto shrine house), at the right, the parking lot which was the front gate of this tall temple until the big fire in the year 45 of the Meiji period.
* The material of the main column is cypress (Hinoki), and the head rail is cedar wood
Tama-no-hashi Bridge (sacred bridge)
The bridge over this river was remodeled in 1896 (29th year of the Meiji Period), and it is described in the map of precincts of the Muromachi period as a bridge over which the gods will cross. Considering that has two names, one name of this bridge is Otaiko Bridge. That signifies the semicircular shape of the bridge and the other which stands for “the god’s bridge”. It is said that even in the case of the Great Fire in 1912 (45th year of the Meiji Period), this area was the only one fortunate enough to escape the disaster.
Hi no Tama Ishi (Fire Ball Stone) / Omo Karu no Ishi (Heavy Light Stone)
In the Keicho era (1596 – 1615) the castle owner of Hirosaki (now, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture), Nobuhira Tsugaru passed from Edoomote and on his way to Sado Island it suddenly got stormy. Upon the posibility of shipwreck he prayed for the assistance of the gods and he pledged the torii of the Mt. Yahiko from the ship, the sea became quiet and he was able to return home safely. After a while, two fireballs ran around inside the castle, and after profound consideration Tsugaru remembered that he did not fulfill his promise.
In the year 1617 (3rd year of the Genna Period) one of these stones along with the pilar of the sailor where donated.
“Tsugaru no Hi no Tama no Ishi “, “Omo Karu no Ishi” as it is called, is a popular power spot. When you are in need, this stone feels light and it can be lifted. That means your wishes will be fulfilled. It is also said that when it’s heavy and cannot be lifted, your request will not come true.
It is also believed that the main pillar of Ichi no Torii is floating because the length of the dedicated column was not long enough.