This was one the amazing finds during my hike yesterday, which will be in another post.
Iwafune Jinja (磐船神社) is located in Katano City, Osaka Prefecture just bordering Osaka and Nara.
Why Rock Ship? The Kanji Iwa(磐) means rock or a big boulder of rock and Fune(船) means ship or boat thus the title. The idea came when RT, our guide yesterday, explained to me that it was believed that these big boulder of rocks where the ship in which the gods used to get to earth.
A little google and I found the official homepage for this place. [Japanese][English]
The Japanese site contains a more details description, unfortunately it’s going to take me a few days to do a translation of it. The English site contains some basic information which will give you some idea how old this place is.
The name at the gate of the Shrine
The front shine. Notice the Big boulder of rock in the back of it? It is believed that the god(神) lives in this rock,
Fudoh-Mouoh, considered to be one of the divine beings in Buddhism and this image was carved in the stone in Dec 1545, more than 400 years of history.
Can you see the frog on top of the Rock? It’s supposed to be a holy creature, a guardian perhaps?
The Shrine is small but full of history. We were planning to go done and explore underneath the boulders but unfortunately it has been raining these past days and the rocks are slippery so for safety reason, they have closed it. So now I have another reason to go back there soon.
Going into the shrine is free but if you plan to go down under the rocks, you need to pay a small fee.
How to get there by Train:
By Keihan Train: Take the Keihan Train to Kisaichi Station(私市) , and get on the Keihan Bus and get off at Iwafune Jinja Mae. This bus only operates on the weekends(Sat and Sun) only.
By Kintetsu Line: Get off at Ikoma Station and Take the bus bound for Kitadahara(北田原) and get off at the last stop from there it’s about 10 minutes walk to the shrine.
If you are going by Car you can take a look at this map.