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Iya Shrine


The shrine dedicated to the goddess Izanami


It is located to the east of central Matsue in Higashi-izumo. 

This shrine was written about in the “Izumo no Kuni Fudoki” , a record of the culture and geography of the region and is the only record left today in Japan that is in complete condition since 733, meaning the shrine was regarded as very important by the capital at the time. 

The main hall uses Taisha-zukuri architecture, but the area where the sacred object is kept is made in the opposite fashion to Izumo Taisha, where order goes from left to right. 


Iya shrine is also famous as the very setting for one of Japanese mythology stories.

It is dedicated to the goddess Izanami who is the wife of the god Izanagi. Together they were said to have created the Japan Archipelago and a lot of the Japanese gods/ goddesses.


They used to be a loving couple with the same ambitions until Izanami died as the result of giving birth to the god of fire.

Since then, their paths had separated with Izanami belonging to the land of the dead while Izanagi to the living. 


After Izanami died, Izanagi had spent days grieving and missing her so much that he chased after her into the land of the dead trying to get her back, only to find that his loving wife turned into a monstrous creature rotten from the inside out. Izanagi ran for his life and back to the living world, chased by Izanami, who was furious because he looked at her face when she told him not to.  In the end, Izanagi shut her in the underworld at the boundary of the living world with a huge rock, which is now known as Yomotsu-hira Saka. There you can actually witness the very rock he used to shut the entrance to the underworld. 


Izanami cursed Izanagi from the other side of the rock saying, “For the shame you have caused me, I will kill 1000 people from your world every day!” 

Izanagi replied to her “Then, I will create 1500 people every day.”

And they never saw each other again.


Thus, Izanami is forever stuck in the underworld and has been ever since.

Iya shrine might have been built by those who sympathize with her, praying for her rest in peace. 


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