In September I'm going to Japan for three weeks, and one of the things I'm planning to do there is visit Shinto shrines. Here are some links on that, which may be of interest to Western pagans among my readers.
- Keta Taisha (Keta Grand Shrine; link is Japanese only) Enshrines Ookuninushi no mikoto, responsible for love and marriage among other things; site features an online store, downloadable smart-phone app, and a database of testimonials from visitors who had their prayers answered (currently just under 54,000 of them). They typically conclude "and the boy I have a crush on finally emailed me!"
- Shirayama Hime Jinja (Mt. Haku Shrine) That link is Japanese only, but here's some commentary in English. This shrine represents a somewhat older tradition of honouring deities in naturally-occurring landscape features rather than using a human-created object as a focus to attract and contain the deity. The main deity enshrined here is that of the mountain itself, and this is the head shrine of the Shirayama (Mt. Haku) network; but the creators Izanami and Izanagi are also enshrined here. See this profanity-laced English-language retelling of the Izanami and Izanagi legend. That account doesn't cover this part, probably because the storyteller didn't recognize it, but it's clear to anyone with the right background that what Izanami and Izanagi did to create the first land, as shown in this painting, was basically the Wiccan Great Rite.
- Imamiya Ebisu Jinja (Imamiya Ebisu Shrine) The shrine's own site is Japanese-only, but see also the Osaka Visitor's Guide. Osaka franchise of the Ebisu shrine network. Ebisu is the adult version of the "hideous mutant leech-baby" mentioned in the Izanami and Izanagi legend. He was born boneless because his mother spoke first during the marriage ceremony, and was set adrift like Moses in a boat of rushes, eventually ending up in Hokkaido. Ebisu became a god of fishermen and of business, and is worshipped in October when the other gods are attending their yearly
anime conventionspiritual retreat. There is also a brand of beer named after him.
- Shinto shrines database. Site is in Engrish; it says so in the page banner. Organized geographically, so you can find "What shrines are in such-and-such neighbourhood?" but not (which is what I'd been hoping for) "Where is the nearest shrine of such-and-such deity?" The Japanese side of the site gives a little more information, but I think there's still room for modern technology to provide better search features. Maybe if I can find the right people to talk to, I can help with that.
- The Kojiki (1919 translation) A collection of scriptures. Claimed to be in English but seems to lapse randomly into Latin at times.