Megaliths at the foot of Mt. Shingyodo

The stones of a divine spirit

“The stones of a divine spirit.”

In a mountainous area in the Iriya district of Minamisanriku, there are megaliths that dot the landscape, appearing as if they had come down from the sky. Granite that had been formed by cooling deep underground emerged on the earth’s surface here in the Cretaceous Period through crustal changes, and eroded over millenniums. The area covered with sedimentary rocks remained a mountain and people settled in the eroded granite area. The surface of the earth was dotted with huge lumps of granite which remained without being eroded, and the people in Iriya have deified the stones as gods and passed this belief from generation to generation. The stone was believed to be an object representative of a divine spirit. The largest megalith is in the Ishinodaira district. It measures 5.5 m in height and 13 m in width and lies deep in the cedar forest. The megalith has three fissures which were caused by water entering into its cracks and undergoing years of repeated freezing and melting. A legend in Iriya says that those who are honest can pass through the fissures, and those who have evil thoughts cannot. On 28th October according to the old-style calendar, the people of Iriya worship the “Tsutoko Myojin God” around this megalith. “Tsuto” made from rice straws represents a shrine. Once a year, the shrine is made anew for the god who resides there. It appears as though the small paper offerings and “Tsutoko Myojin God” are gazing at the people who visit here. This is a mystical spot where you can feel the power of Mother Earth. Found in the various areas of the Iriya District in Minamisanriku

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