Mt Haruna’s rain deity, Ho-musubi, and the Legend of the Giant Daidarabotchi


“Haruna Shrine in Harunasan-cho, Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture is a historic shrine located in Mt. Haruna. The enshrined deities are Homusubi no Kami and Haniyamahime no Kami. It is one of the Six Shrines in Kozuke province (present-day Gunma Prefecture). It is said that the shrine was founded during the reign of the 2nd emperor Suizei (reigned 581-549 B.C.) and the shrine building was built in 586.” — the Nippon-Kichi

The mountain enshrines the rain deity and is a sacred place for mountain practitioners, and has been visited by a lot of worshippers since the ancient times.
The Legend of the Giant Daidarabotchi
Daidarabotchi (ダイダラボッチ?, lit. “Giant”) was a gigantic yōkai in Japanese mythology. His size was so great that his footprints were said to have created innumerable lakes and ponds. In one legend, Daidarabotchi wanted to see which was heavier; Mount Fuji or Mount Tsukuba. So he weighed them on a great scale. However, when he was finished he dropped the latter, splitting its peak. The Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki, a recording of the imperial customs in the Hitachi Province compiled in the 8th Century, also told of such a giant living on a hill west of a post office of Hiratsu Ogushi who fed on giant clams from the beach, piling the shells on top of a hill.This is an excerpt from the article Daidarabotchi from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia.
More on Mt Haruna excerpted from Nippon- Kichi

“Mt. Haruna (1,449 m) is an active volcano in Harunako-cho, Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture. Together with Mt. Akagi and Mt. Myogi, it is one of the Three Mountains in Jomo (present-day Gunma Prefecture). The volcano has a summit caldera, which contains over fifteen peaks including the symmetrical cone of Haruna-Fuji, along with a crater lake, Lake Haruna. Although it has been inactive for a long time, it eruppted many times from the 5th to the 6th centuries. At Kuroimine Ruins in Shibukawa City at the eastern foot of the mountain, the intact remains of dwellings in the late Kofun period (A.D. 300-700) were excavated under the 2 m deposition of volcanic ashes.

The mountain itself had long been worshipped as the deity that symborizes the town, and it has Haruna Shrine and Mizusawa Kannon Temple inside the mountain area. There also remain many legends and folk tales, which include the tales of the Giant Daidarabocchi and the well that was dug by Kobodaishi. There are a lot of hot springs around the mountain including Ikaho Hot Springs.”

See also 鬼丸大将1巻 By 手塚治虫 for a charming account of the legend of General Onimaru, Haruna and the giant Daidarabotchi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s