immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)

Teaching Resources

Akakura Mountain Shrine Rituals


The presentation of offerings (accompanied by spoken prayers) is an important dimension of ritual practice and the conduct of shugyo (ascetic discpline) at Akakura. Food and drink offerings are considered to be purified after they have been "tasted" by the kami, and are usually consumed afterwards by human worshippers as "gofu."

Especially beautiful offerings, carefully arranged on special trays, are offered to the kami each morning in Shinden, the Reido, the Dragon shrine, the Godaimoyoo hall and the Mieido hall. Beautiful offerings are also presented at major ceremonies, such as the Great Summer Festival in July. All of these important formal offerings are prepared by women in the shrine kitchen.

(see Immortal Wishes, Chapter Four, "Miniature Mountains: Offerings and Exchange")

Offering presented by a lay worshipper to the Dragon (Ryujin) subshrine



Related Internet Resources


Offering the Sacred Meal to the Kami (Ise Shrine)


Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)