Also known as: Konohanasakuya; Sengensama
Konohana Sakkuya Hime is the presiding spirit of Japan’s Mount Fuji and the kami of blossoming cherry trees. The younger daughter of mountain spirit, Oyama Tsumi; she was given in marriage to Amaterasu’s grandson, Ninigi. She conceived on their wedding night, leading him to suspect infidelity.
Konohana was so aggravated and affronted by his suspicions that she entered a cavern on Mount Fuji, sealed it shut and lit a fire within, announcing that if she and her child emerged unscathed, that was proof of her innocence. She successfully gave birth to her son while her home was consumed by flames. She reconciled with her husband with whom she had two more children. Konohana Sakkuya Hime is invoked for safe, easy childbirth and abundant milk as well as by those who seek fertility. Various shamanic rites were associated with her shrines; amulets associated with her are prized for stimulating pregnancy and safeguarding birth.
Konohana Sakkuya Hime replaced the Ainu goddess of Mount Fuji. In turn, she has since been sublimated or somewhat merged with Buddhist deities, Jizo and Kan non. However, she is still venerated at over one-hundred shrines throughout Japan.
Konohana Hime is a benevolent but formidable goddess who must always be approached with respect. This is meant literally: when approaching Mount Fuji, one approaches Konohana. She slew followers of the 12th century hero Nitta Tadatsune when they trespassed in a sacred cave. Tadatsune was an exceptionally brave man but when Konohana warned him to retreat or meet his fate, he took the escape route. People honor Konohana by walking the pilgrimage route up Mount Fuji. She is also venerated at home altars.
Iconography: She stands on clouds upon or beside Mount Fuji
Flower: Sakura (cherry) blossoms
Creature: Snake, dragon; snakes made from braided rice straw are placed near her altar
Mount: Konohana rides a dragon or a giant snake
Sacred site: Konohana emerged as the primary goddess of Mount Fuji between the 14th and 16th centuries; her primary shrines are at the top and bottom of Mount Fuji
Offering: Rice; flowers; incense; pilgrimage