Nature & Culture of Japan

To make your trip to Japan more interesting

Culture History

Mountain worship in Japan 1: Where the souls of the dead people go

I think everyone has the feeling that a person is made up of a body and a soul.

It seems that people in old time actually thought so. In Japan, the excavated vessels indicate that the dead people were buried in the immediate vicinity of their lives to expect a new life, which requires a body and a floating soul. It is interesting that the corpse was preserved and placed in the pyramid, considering the Egyptian king who believed in reincarnation. The fact that people thought about the same thing in a distant place may be something that human beings have primitively and universally.

In Japan, people thought that the souls of the dead would go to the mountains. Then the mountain worship which partly continue until today was developed.

Many material that are thought to have been used for rituals were excavated from the ruins. Since some researchers states that such places are located to see the mountains at the neatest view. Rituals with speaking some words or expressing with the bodies were probably being held toward the mountains.

In fact, there are many archaeological sites around the neat mountain.

A large number of bronze bell-like objects (dotaku) made around the year AD were excavated from around Mt. Mikami in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture. When the sunrise overraps with the neat mountain, it is so divine. I can understand that people felt of having faith.


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