immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)


Teaching Resources

Akakura Mountain Shrine Architecture

Shinden Altar

The Shinden has the most elaborate altar (saidan) in the shrine. It is centered on two mirrors and a large candelabra in the shape of the three-peaked Akakura mountain. On the morning of the Great Summer Festival in July, the walls of the Shinden behind the altar are opened up, so that worshippers may see the Honden (Kami sanctuary) immediately behind the Shinden.

Early each morning, two elaborate offering trays of rice and water are presented to the mountain divinities on the Shinden altar. (see Immortal Wishes, pp. 132-140)

The walls of the Shinden are covered with votive paintings depicting revelatory visions experienced by worshippers.

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(Shinden exterior)

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(Shinden interior)

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Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)