The Izumo Taisha (Izumo Grand Shrine) is one of the most ancient and most important Shinto shrines in Japan. It is located in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, which is home to two major festivals. This year, Shimane Prefecture will be the venue for the Japan Myth Expo, which will be held from July 21 to November 11, 2012.
The shrine was originally made around 950 AD and was considered to be Japan’s largest wooden structure at that time. According to the Kojiki, one of the oldest chronicles in Japan, the shrine was built by the Sun Goddess Amateratsu, on the request of a diety named Okuninushi, who was believed to have built the nation of Japan.
This year also commemorates the 1300th anniversary of the completion of the Kojiki, or Record of Ancient Matters, a collection of myths about Japan’s origin.
The event will feature various Japanese myth-related activities for visitors at various sites, also to enjoy the attractions around Izumo. Shinto beliefs say that ancestral spirits and deities gather every year from all over Japan during the lunar calendar month of October, leaving the country godless. It was also believed that the gods gather to talk about the coming year’s events like marriages, births and deaths.
One of the events in fact, is the dramatization of this gathering, which will be introduced on screen at the Myth Image Theater. The event will run from July 21, 2012 to November 11, 2012 and as early as June, several websites are already giving out information on ticket prices and guided tours in the area.
Other traditional arts will be shown like drama, dance and traditional song performances. It’s a culture-rich event that both young and old will definitely enjoy.