immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)



Akakura Mountain Shrine Rituals

The Dragon Princess Ceremony


Once a year, in the depth of winter, the most dedicated worshippers gather to replenish the sacred water of Akakura Mountain Shrine. They form a line to transport water from Akakura river to the Mieido shrine, dedicated to the spirit of the founder.

Dragon symbolism is highly developed in the Akakura Mountain Shrine system. The water is referred to as the "water of the Dragon Princess," and is closely associated with the Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra, in which the young daughter of the Dragon King attains Buddahood, as well as pre-Buddhist popular narratives. (see Ruppert 2000: 201-206

Below, worshippers walk up the snow-covered mountain road to the shrine for the annual Dragon Princess ritual. The torri (gate) of Oishi shrine is visible in the distance.


Previous Ceremony:

New Year's Rite


Next Ceremonies:

Mountain Opening ceremony


Internet Sources on the Dragon Daughter:


Japanese Mythology

Click on "Ryujin" or go directly to:

or Click on "Otohime" (Dragon Daughter or "Luminous Jewel") or go directly to:

Internet Sources on the Devadatta Chapter of the Lotus Chapter:


Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)