It has been said that all the deities throughout Japan gather once every year and hold meetings here in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture. The meetings are called “Kamuhakari” and held in the 10th month of the lunar calendar. Throughout Japan, that month is called “Kanna zuki” — The Month of No Gods — because all the gods leave the places where they reside to gather in the Izumo Region; on the other hand, here in the Izumo Region, that month is called Kamiari zuki — The Month of the Gods.
One of the reasons this region is famously known as the Land of the Gods is Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, one of the most ancient and important Shinto Shrines in Japan. Its origin is old enough to be described in Japanese mythology. The main deity enshrined there is Okuninushi-no-Okami, who is said to govern the realm of things unseen – the realm of the gods. The myriad of gods in the country gather at Izumo Taisha to meet him and hold meetings.
Okuninushi-no-Okami is also well-known as the deity of happiness, good fortune, and en-musubi. “En” is the ties that connect people to each other and to everyday events, and “en-musubi” means creating those ties. Recently, the shrine has been getting more and more attention as a “power spot”, which is a spiritual place where a mystic force provides energy, good fortune and healing to a person who visit there.
On the evening of October 10th, according to the lunar calendar, The myriad of gods are welcomed to Izumo in a ceremony at Inasa-no-Hama Beach, located about 1 km west of Izumo Taisha. Shinto priests burn bonfires on the beach and perform a special ceremony to welcome the gods. After that, they escort the gods to Izumo Taisha and hold the Kamimukae Sai (Welcoming of the Gods). The next seven days after that are called Kamiari Sai, during which the gods are said to hold meetings to decide various things for the upcoming year. During this period, a series of rituals are held to entertain the gods. While this is happening, residents of the Izumo area are careful not to make large noises, either through singing, dancing or playing music, in order to avoid disturbing the meetings. Then, on the last day of Kamiari Sai, the Karasade Sai (Departure of the Gods) is held and people see off the gods as they leave Izumo Taisha.
Access to Inasa-no-hama Beach from the shrine
Inasa-no-hama Beach is located about 1 km west (10 minutes walk) from Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
View Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine in a larger map