Kibitsu Shrine was originally the head shrine of Kibi Province, but when Kibi was divided into three provinces (Bizen, Bichu, and Bingo), it became the central shrine of the new Bichu Province. The shrine’s original founding date is uncertain, but the central hall and prayer hall, which are National Treasures, were reconstructed by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1425. The buildings have stood ever since without needing to be deconstructed. The architectural style is “Hiyoku-irimoya-zukuri,” and since it is the only building in this style in the whole country, this style is also called “Kibitsu-zukuri.” One of the other scenic constructions apart from the central hall is the corridor that stretches for 360 meters. This straight corridor makes the most of the natural slope, going on and on like a wave. Its great beauty led to it being designated by Okayama Prefecture as an important cultural property.
Kibitsu Shrine is famed as the supposed site of the god Kibi-tsu-hiko’s overthrow of the demon Ura. The shrine is filled with artifacts of the legend, such as the “Ya-oki-ishi” rock, whereon was laid the arrow used in defeating the demon, and the “Mikama-dono,” where Ura’s head was buried under a cauldron. Ceremonies are held to commemorate the legend at various points throughout the year. In particular, the “Narukama-shinji” rite held at the Mikama-dono will allow participation from anyone who wants to. This ritual involves water being boiled in the cauldron and the sound made by the steam being used to predict good or bad fortune, but there are no specific predictions made. You listen to the sound, and if it sounds good, that means good fortune, but if you think it sounds bad, that is a bad omen. You listen, and allow your heart to decide. Be sure to visit this land of the legendary demon-slayer, who is said to be the prototype for the famous Momotaro folk tale.