- - ABC-INDEX - -


Tamausagi Gassan Yamagata



Treasure Rabbit 玉兎 tama-usagi

Gassan tamausagi 月山玉兎
Treasure Rabbit from Mount Gassan

gyokuto 玉兎

The connection about the hare pounding rice in the moon has been told here:

. The Hare in the Moon .

On Mount Gassan in Yamagata, the hare is seen as a messenger of the deity.
A man from Kyoto once had a dream. A white rabbit was guiding him up to the peak of Mount Gassan. Later he made a round white rabbit with the wish of
"enman" 円満 , "everything going round and smooth".

The white hare has been a talisman for bringing children in the family, keeping peace and having kind relations with others (enman).

It is usually a papermachee doll, well liked for its roundness.

There is also a rabbit riding on the moon (or ball)
tamanori usagi, tama nori usagi 玉乗り兎

great earthquake -
even the treasure rabbit
is shaken

. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011


An old legend, told by Grandmother Makiko from Gassan:

Once upon a time,
a tired old man came to the mountain where a fox, a monkey and a rabbit lived peacefully.
The fox quickly ran to the river, caught a fish and gave it to the man to eat.
The monkey quickly climbed up a tree, collected some nuts and gave them to the man to eat.
The rabbit hopped here and there, but came back with empty hands.

The fox and the monkey reproached the poor rabbit.
So the rabbit collected some dried branches, made a fire and jumped right into it.

"Please, old man, eat me when I am cooked!"
were his last words.

The old man felt great pity for the poor rabbit and pointed his finger to the sky.
And what do you know!
The rabbit went straight up to the sky and placed himself in the moon.

Now it looks as if a rabbit is pounding rice in the moon, but in fact, you know,
the rabbit later turned to Buddha himself.
- - - - - Or so they say.

A similar legend is known in the Buddhist Sasajaataka (Jataka Tale 316), where a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon (Uposatha), believing a demonstration of great virtue would earn a great reward.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

- quote -
Gyokuto 玉兎 ぎょくと
TRANSLATION: jade rabbit
ALTERNATE NAMES: tsuki no usagi, getto (moon rabbit)
HABITAT: the moon
DIET: unknown; presumably mochi
..... snip
The Japanese version of the Sanskrit tale appears in Konjaku monogatarishū. A fox, a monkey, and a rabbit were traveling in the mountains when they came across a shabby-looking old man lying along the road. The old man had collapsed from exhaustion while trying to cross the mountains. The three animals felt compassion for the old man, and tried to save him. The monkey gathered fruit and nuts from the trees, the fox gathered fish from the river, and they fed the old man. As hard as he tried, the rabbit, however, could not gather anything of value to give to the old man.
Lamenting his uselessness, the rabbit asked the fox and monkey for help in building a fire. When the fire was built, the rabbit leaped into the flames so that his own body could be cooked and eaten by the old man. When the old man saw the rabbit’s act of compassion, he revealed his true form as Taishakuten, one of the lords of Heaven. Taishakuten lifted up the rabbit and placed it the moon, in order that all future generations could be inspired by the rabbit’s compassionate act.
The reason it is sometimes difficult to see the rabbit in the moon is because of the smoke which still billows from the rabbits body, masking his form somewhat.
- source : yokai.com/gyokuto -


Here is the legend from Mount Yahikoyama in Niigata
新潟県の西蒲原郡弥彦村 Yahiko Village

from the shop Seigetsudo 誠月堂 at Mount Yahikoyama

Once upon a time, at the sacred mount Yahikoyama, there lived many rabbits, messengers of the deity.
Every day they came down from the mountain, hopped into the fields of the farmers at the foot of the mountain and ate their crops, causing a lot of damage. So the farmers were in great distress.

The Deity of Mount Yahikoyama 彌彦大神 heared about this. He ordered the rabbits of the mountain to come to a meeting and told them not to damage the crops any more. The rabbits promised to behave in the future - and what do you know - the fields were not damaged any more.

The farmers were very greatful to the Deity of Yahikosan.
To show their greatfulness, they made round little ricecakes looking like the rabbits and offered them to the Deity.
The Deity liked the sweet rabbit cakes very much and ate them all, mumbling

"Beneficial Ricecakes" usachimochi 良幸餅(うさちもち).
(a pun of the sound, usagi mochi, rabbit ricecakes)

And this is how they got the name here around Mount Yahikoyama.

Later, when many pilgrims from Edo came to the village to climb the mountain, these cakes were sold as souvenirs and the farmers now had an extra income.

A sweet made from Wasanbon sugar

. Wasanbon 和三盆 Japanese Sugar


Yahiko tooroo matsuri 弥彦燈籠祭 (やひことうろうまつり)
Yahiko lantern festival

observance kigo for late summer

At Yahiko shrine 弥彦神社

July 24 to 26

This festival has a history of more than 1000 years and is always visited from pilgrims far and near.
The main event is on the 25th, with mikoshi parade and lantern parade at night.
Children perform ritual dances on the kagura stage.

Mount Yahiko san is about 600 meters high and most of it is part of the sacred shrine compound. The first building dates back to 711. The poetry anthology Manyo-shu already contains poems about this region.
East of the shrine, about four kilometers down the road, there is a huge red torii gate, which was build in 1882.
Nowadays, there is also a ropeway up to the top.


Nov. 1 - 24 Yahiko Kiku Festival 弥彦菊祭り 
Chrysanthemum festival

Amulets from Yahiko Shrine
交通安全 - 旅行安全御守
ランドセル御守 schoolchild's satchel, Rucksack for children
開運鈴 large bell for good luck
さくら咲く御守 cherry blossom amulet

source : www.iyahiko.or.jp

A shrine treasure

Chiken 知剣 Buddism sword of wisdom
. Swords of Japan .

Yahiko - The Four Seasons
source : www.vill.yahiko.niigata.jp


Another famous doll from Gassan is the

marineko, mari neko 鞠猫 cat on a temari ball

. Temari 手鞠 手毬 toy balls .


. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Reference .


. The Hare in the Moon .
The Rabbit pounding rice in the Moon
Gakko Bosatsu 月光菩薩 (Moonlight Bosatsu)


gyokuto 玉兎(ぎょくと)"treasure hare", treasure rabbit
tsuki no usagi 月の兎(つきのうさぎ)
heaven kigo for all autumn

. . . . .

onaji toki sugosu gyokuto no yo to narinu  

we spend the same time
the treasure rabbit
and me tonight   

Rein れいん

. . . . .

There is also a haiku poet called

Oomura Gyokuto 大村玉兎 Omura Gyokuto

pinokio ga ehon ni modoru ama no gawa

climbs back into his picture book -
the Milky Way


. Reference .


Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono
. The Three Holy Mountains of Dewa .




facebook friends said...

. . . amazing . . .

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

. Iyahiko Jinja, Yahiko Jinja 彌彦神社 / 弥彦神社 Niigata .

Echigo Ichi no Miya