Departing Kinojo Castle, we headed to the Tatetsuki Ruins, a burial mound built during the Yayoi period.
A burial mound is a grave built with a pile of earth on top of it. Why is the legend of Momotaro connected with this grave from the Yayoi period?
This burial mound has megaliths on top of it arranged in a circle in the manner of Stonehenge, a world-famous site of ancient megaliths in England. Nevertheless, this is on a smaller scale than Stonehenge…
It is said that Kibitsuhiko, the prince who was Momotaro, engaged in a battle of arrows with Ura, the ogre who lived at Kinojo Castle, from this location, and at that time the megaliths served as shields for Kibitsuhiko. In the middle of the circle of megaliths is the “Sentaimonseki stone,” a stone with very strange shape that was enshrined here 2,000 years ago. It is said that this stone was used by Kibitsuhiko to fly into the sky in the manner of the flying cloud of the Monkey King in Chinese legend.
Looking toward the town area from under the shadow of the megaliths that stand at the Tatetsuki Ruins, I caught a glance of the west gate of Kinojo Castle far in the distance.
I thought, “Wow, it is possible to see Kinojo Castle from here? Amazing! It is said that the arrows that Ura and Kibitsuhiko shot collided with each other and fell to the ground. The place where they fell must be Yaguinomiya Shrine, which has the Japanese word for 'arrow' in its name. Wow, Yaguinomiya Shrine is right along a straight line between the two locations!”
I felt as if I had become Kibitsuhiko. Even though Ura probably wasn’t at the the west gate, it felt as if he was there, looking in my direction and watching me.
As I stood in the middle of the circle of megaliths, it looked like it really might be possible to engage in a battle from this distance.
When the person buried here was entombed, this is the location where the ritual must have taken place. It somehow gave a sense of being enveloped. While surrounded by the megaliths, it seemed as though my body was turning round and round and that I would end up taking a trip through space-time.
The beautiful music that was played during the rituals must have reverberated off of the megaliths toward the middle of the circle, so perhaps during the rituals, the ancient people here were able to fly to a different space-time in the mental sense. Maybe they carved the Sentaimonseki stone to express how they felt at such times. The pinion patterns carved all over the stone create a bizarre atmosphere. I wonder if the bulb-like knobs are switches of some kind. If they are, I wonder what the human face carved at the end means.
No one knows what the people 2,000 years ago were thinking when they erected megaliths on top of a burial mound and placed the very magical looking Sentaimonseki stone at the center. While this is unknown, there is not doubt that the people of that time had some type of vision in mind.
The Sentaimonseki stone, which has continuously gazed upon the activities of humans, is currently in safe storage, and its full appearance can rarely be viewed. It was very difficult to see it from the window built into the side of its storage case. But that is fine. The Sentaimonseki stone can only be viewed by people who have put their face up to a small window. The megaliths of the Tatetsuki Ruins, which can only be experienced by people who have taken the trouble of traveling to this place, had power.
The shields and flying vehicle of Kibitsuhiko were thus also regional guardian deities that continuously watched over the lives of the people in this area since the Yayoi period.
(To be continued…)