An ukiyoe depicting a catfish and 'Kanameishi' led to last week's visit of Kashima Jingu Shrine in Ibaraki prefecture. (You'll see the ukiyoe if you visit here.)
According to the legends, Kanameishi is a sacred spirit stone which is supposed to suppress earthquakes at Kashima Jingu Shrine in Ibaraki prefecture and Katori Jingu Shrine in Chiba prefecture.
At that time a lot of earthquakes used to hit the regions and people thought that a catfish caused them. So Gods of Kashima Jingu Shrine and Katori Jingu Shrine pierced both the tail and the head of the catfish with long stones.
The left picture is a hall for worship and prayer at Kashima Jingu Shrine, which was unfortunately under renovation when we visited.
The other two pictures above are 'Kanameishi' at Kashima Jingu Shrine.
In Edo era, Tokugawa Mitsukuni, a Japanese Daimyo had the sacred spirit stone dug up, but no matter how deeply they dug up, they couldn't reach the bottom of the stone.
I visited Katori Jingu Shrine, too.
The left picture is a hall for worship and prayer.
The other two pictures are 'Kanameishi'.
You can see Kanameishi at Omura Jinja in Mie prefecture, and Kashima Jinja in Miyagi prefecture as well.
The day before we visited the shrines, we had driven to 'Fukuroda-no-taki 袋田の滝' with a height of 120m and a width of 73m, which are on the Taki River, joining the Kuji River. The falls are located at Daigo town in Ibaraki prefecture. In winter you can see the falls freezing over.
And we stayed for a night at a ryokan, an inn which is located at the hot spring source of Daigo hot springs.