and Yamata no Orochi
Susanoo left Heaven and went to Earth, where he landed at the foot of
the Hii River. Seeing chopsticks floating down the river, he supposed
that there were people living upstream. Of course, he was right, and as
he was walking up the river, he met two old people. The old man's name
was "Foot Stroking Elder," and the old woman's name was "Hand Stroking
Between them stood a lovely young maiden whom they called, "Kushinada
Hime." They were all crying. Susanoo, touched by the sight of such sadness,
asked them why they were lamenting so. The old man told him that every
year a great snake had come, and eaten one of their eight daughters! Kushinada
was the last one left! The snake was called "Yamata no Orochi" and was
huge enough to cover eight valleys and mountains!
Susanoo decided he would help them, because the girl was very beautiful.
He asked the old people if he could have their daughter for a wife if
he killed the snake. Of course, they didn't want to let just anyone have
their daughter, so they asked him who he was. He said he was the brother
of the Sun Goddess. At this news, they agreed, and he instantly turned
Kushinada into a comb, and put her into his hair. Combs are important!
Then he told the old folks to prepare eight tubs of powerful sake. They
did this, and put them in the entrances of the eight- opening fence, that
Susanoo had ordered. After getting ready in this way, the great snake
was seen to be approaching. Susanoo was ready for the fight, too. Yamata
no Orochi came to the fence, drank all the sake, and fell asleep. Then
Susanoo attacked, and cut off the snake's eight heads and tails! It was
a terrible fight, but Susano won!
After winning the fight, Susanoo took the eight heads he had cut off,
and buried them at a site named, "Eight Cedar Trees." This site is near
the town of Kisuki. On top of each head, he planted a cedar tree, and
when they were destroyed by floods or disease, other cedars were planted.
The last ones were planted in 1873. In one of the center tails, he found
a wonderful sword that he named "Murakumo." Susanoo gave the beautiful
sword, "Murakumo," that he had found in the tail of Yamata no Orochi,
to his sister as a token of peace, and to show his regard for her.
She graciously accepted it, and it eventually became a part of the Three
Imperial Regalia. The other two parts are a mirror, given her by the gods
of Heaven, and a curved jewel necklace, given to her by her father, Izanagi.
The sword's name was finally changed to "Kusanagi," but that is another
It is believed that the terrible snake of mythology was the many rivers,
which caused much distress for the people through floods. Susanoo, an
engineer, helped control the floods with dikes and dams. The Red River,
which was thought to be red from Yamata no Orochi's blood, is the source
of iron sand that is the material used to make the famous Japanese swords,
as well as knives and agricultural tools---a great discovery! This iron
sand, caused the river to be red, and it is still being used by local
After killing the terrible snake, Susanoo and his bride went to Yaegaki
Shrine, which is dedicated to Inada, to live. Then he moved to Daito,
in Shimane Prefecture. Later, he became the ruler of the Land of Darkness,
the gate to which is in Higashi Izumo.