Panorama to the side of the Haiden in Ebisu shrine (ゑびす神社), Kyoto, Japan. The shrine is built with several pine trees incorporated into the grounds. A variety of smaller plants are grown in pots.
Nearby, along the wall to the west, are a couple of small shrines, known as sessha (摂社) or massha (末社). Also nearby is a vermilion coloured brightly painted rack used for hanging Ema, pieces of wood with prayers written on them.
Ebisu is one of the seven gods of fortune. During his festival, from 8th to 12th of January, Business people visit the shrines dedicated to him to pray for prosperity for their businesses.
The shrine in Kyoto is the third most popular Ebisu shrine in Japan. Ebisu was originally enshrined in Kyoto at the Kenninji Temple, built in 1202. The current shrine was established after the temple burnt down in 1467.
The eight islands of Japan sprang into existence through Divine Intervention.The first two gods who came into existence were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, the Exalted Male and Exalted Female. It was their job to make the land for people to live on.They went to the bridge between heaven and earth and, using a jewel-encrusted halberd, Izanagi and Izanami churned up the sea into a frothy foam. As salty drips of water fell from the tip of the halberd the first island was formed. Its name was Onogoro.So far, so good. But when Izanagi and Izanami first met on their island, Izanami spoke to Isanagi without being spoken to first. Since she was the female, and this was improper, their first union created badly-formed offspring who were sent off into the sea in boats.The next time they met, Izanagi was sure to speak first, ensuring the proper rules were followed, and this time they produced eight children, which became the islands of Japan.I'm sure you did not fail to miss the significance of this myth for the establishment of Japanese formal society.At present, Japan is the financial capital of Asia. It has the second largest economy in the world and the largest metropolitan area (Tokyo.)Technically there are three thousand islands making up the Japanese archipelago. Izanagi and Izanami must have been busy little devils with their jewelled halberd...Japan's culture is highly technical and organized. Everything sparkles and swooshes on silent, miniaturized mechanisms.They're a world leader in robotics, and the Japanese have the longest life-expectancy on earth.Text by Steve Smith.