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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
Kannabi
A place serving as residence to a kami, particularly used to refer to a sacred forest or mountain. The word appears to originate from a term meaning "divine seclusion," and is considered a synonym for the word mimoro, an ancient name for Mt. Miwa. Man'yōshū includes numerous verses that employ the expression kannabi, including "the kannabi Mount Mimoro," or "the kami of the kannabi of Mimoro, "on the mountain of Mimoro, the divine kannabi," or "on the mountain kannabi of the water-racing rocks," and all such verses indicate kannabi's use as a pillow word referring to Mount Mimoro (i.e., Miwa). In Izumo fudoki, the word kannabi is written with various character combinations and used to refer to mountains in the counties Ou-gun, Aika-gun, Tatenui-gun, and Izumo-gun, and some citations are accompanied by descriptions of the shrine Sadai Jinja found on the mountain's foothills, all indicating that the mountains there were considered divine. Engishiki's "Register of the Names of kami" (Jinmyōchō) records the names of several shrines with the title Kannabi Jinja, including those in Yamashiro, Tanba, and Bingo Provinces. The Izumo no kuni no miyatsuko kamuyogoto found in book 8 of Engishiki also has descriptions of the enshrinement of the "gentle spirit" (nigimitama) of Ōnamuchi no mikoto at the kannabi of Ōmiwa, the enshrinement of the spirit of Ajisukitakahikone no mikoto at the kannabi of Katsuragi no Kamo, and the spirit of Kayanarumi no mikoto at the kannabi of Asuka. It is also noteworthy that the kami found in these lists are mostly those indigenous to Izumo. According to one theory, "divine mountains" (shintaizan) can be divided into two categories, namely, those of the "Asama type" (Mt. Ōyama) and those of the "Kannabi type." The latter group includes conical mountains such as Mt. Miwa, Kasuga Taisha's Mt. Mikasa, Hiyoshi Taisha's Mt. Hachiōji, the mountain Kōyama of the Upper Kamo Shrine (Kami Kamo Jinja), and Mt. Mikami of the shrine Mikami Jinja.

-Sugiyama Shigetsugu
Mt. Miwa

Nara Prefecture, 2006

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