Exhibition of “Uzu” pillars in the main lobby unearthed within the Izumo Grand Shrine precincts

Exhibition of “Uzu” pillars in the main lobby unearthed within the Izumo Grand Shrine precincts

From 2000 through 2001, giant pillars were discovered at three places within the Izumo Grand Shrine precincts. Each pillar consisted of three Japanese Cedar trees bundled together and was about three meters in diameter overall. This is an example of a “Munamochi” pillar which supports the ridge of the roof, called the Uzu pillar. Thanks to an abundance of ground water in the shrine area, the pillars were excavated in a very good condition and were almost in their original condition.

The pillar holes, which are about six meters in diameter at the maximum, were filled with rocks as big as a human head or bigger. They illustrate a subsurface structure of Hottate-pillars, which were unprecedented at the time, being driven directly into the ground without stone foundations. The layout and arrangement of the pillars resemble in a ground plan that has been passed down through the Kokuso family, from whom the high priest of the Izumo Grand Shrine is chosen.

Scientific analysis, archaeological records, paintings, and an examination of documents suggest it is highly possible that this pillar supported the main shrine building, which was built in 1248, or in the first half of the Kamakura Period.

Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo
99-4 Kitsuki-Higashi, Taisha, Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture, 699-0701 JAPAN
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