The busiest month for God

The busiest month for God

In an old saying, the month of October is called "神無月(Kan na zuki)," which means "God is absent. What does it mean that there is no God? There is an interesting Japanese saying that goes something like this.

It is believed that during the month of October, all of the 8 million gods in Japan go to Izumo-taisha, a famous shrine in Shimane Prefecture, for a conference, leaving only a few gods behind. 

Therefore, the month is called "神無月kan-na-zuki" (meaning "no gods") because there are no gods in the country where the gods go, and "神在月kami-ari-zuki" (meaning "gods are present") because there are many gods in Shimane Prefecture.


What's on the agenda for the conference?

So what exactly do the gods discuss when they gather at Izumo-taisha Shrine?

It is said that the gods are discussing the fate of people, marriage (who should marry whom), and so on. It may be the result of this discussion that people who are far away from each other get to know each other and get married. Therefore, Izumo-taisha Shrine is also very famous as a place of marriage. Also, the next year's weather, crops, sake production, etc. are discussed.


Why Izumo Taisha?

The deity of Izumo-taisha is 大国主大神(Okuninushi no Okami). He symbolizes the earth. He had many children and had them manage the country throughout the country. The children would return to Izumo-taisha once a year to report on the year and discuss the coming year. Eventually, it is said that other deities began to gather together in Izumo.


Gods' Business Trip Schedule

October 1: Departure for Izumo
Each family offers mochi and sekihan (red rice) as a lunch to the departing god.
October 10: Arrival in Izumo
October 11-17: A meeting called "Kamuhakari" is held. The Izumo Taisha Shrine will be the meeting place for the festival. The festival is also held every day in the precincts of the shrine, where the gods stay.
October 26: The festival will be held at Izumo-taisha Shrine.
End of October: Return home.
Each household makes offerings of rice cakes and crops to prepare for the return of the gods.


What is the god who stays at home?

So, are there no deities outside of Shimane Prefecture in October? No, not all deities go out to Izumo, but there are deities who stay at home. The representative god is "Ebisu-gami" (Ebisu God). Other deities include Konpira-shin, Kamadoshin, and Doso-jin. In many regions, Ebisu-ko is held in October to worship these absent deities. Many gods protect us while we are away from home.

Izumo-taisha Shrine is a popular power spot in Japan. If you are planning to go there, you might as well go in October, when many gods gather there✨

Back to blog