“The God Tengu and the Camphor Tree of Konpira-san”
Since the Heian Period、 worshipers have been coming ceaselessly from throughout the country to pray before the sea protecting guardian deity of the mountain/shrine called Konpira-san. In the shrine-town at the base of the mountain is the Kinryō Kotohira Brewery、 which makes Konpira-san’s omiki (sacred sake offered at a shrine’s altar).
The Nishino family、 who runs the brewery、 originally hails from the town of Komatsushima in Tokushima Prefecture. There they had seen great success in selling indigo、 and they decided to come to Sanuki (Kagawa) in order to brew sake due to the area’s rich abundance of rice. The class of chemistry that evolved from indigo production is still thriving、 and their indigo makes a significant percentage of the blue ink for ballpoint pens manufactured throughout the country. Some years back、 the Nishino family was ranked as the fifth highest on the list of Japan’s independently wealthy families. Even today in Komatsushima、 people say that even to get to the city hall、 the schools、 or the hospitals in town、 you have to go through the Nishino family’s land somehow.
At the Kotohira Brewery、 operated by this same Nishino family、 there is a sake museum called the “Hometown of Kinryō、” which has become part of the typical tourism course of Konpira-san、 so I won’t go so far as to explain it here. The outstanding characteristic of this brewery is、 more than anything else、 the camphor tree in the interior courtyard、 which is more than 1、000 years old. This camphor tree has been presented as the symbol of the brewery for many、 many years. In former times、 they used to say that the Shinto god、 Tengu would come down from Konpira-san to alight on this tree’s branches for a brief rest. Nowadays、 it seems that owls will come down with their fledglings to build nests、 but it is difficult even for the workers to find them. At any rate、 when I arrived to do my report、 they said、 “If any of our visitors can spot an owl、 we will give you a complimentary bottle of sake as a present!” They really said that! You will have to believe me!
「The Omotesandou Road to Konpira-san」
The Omotesandou Road to Konpira-san
「The Kotohira Brewery’s Hometown of Kinryo Museum」
The Kotohira Brewery’s Hometown of Kinryo Museum
「The great camphor in the interior courtyard」
The great camphor in the interior courtyard