In Shizuoka prefecture, there is a famous story about a dog that has been shared by talking for many years. The dog’s name is Shippei taro and he is related to a shrine in Iwata city in Shizuoka prefecture. Today he is the mascot character of the city. Why is he famous? What happened with him and the shrine? Here is the story to find an answer for them.
The shrine is called Mitsuke tenjin. A long long time ago, there was a sad custom at the shrine. It had a festival every August. Around the time of the festival, people had to choose a person for the god of shrine as a sacrifice. What’s more, the person would be sacrificed alive. Everyone cried and was sad on the festival day. They had had enough.
One day, a monk was visiting Mitsuke tenjin and heard about the story of the festival. He felt sorry for that and worked hard to stop this tragedy. Then he figured out that the sad tradition was created by bad monsters. He also heard bad monsters whispering “Never talk about it to Shippei Taro in Shinano.” Shinano is in Nagano prefecture and the part of Gifu prefecture today. The monk learned that Shippei Taro was a dog and he was in the temple called Kozenji temple in Komagane city in Nagano prefecture. Then he went all the way to Kozenji temple and took Shippei Taro to Mitsuke shrine in Shizuoka prefecture.
The next year, on the day of the scary festival, people put Shippei Taro over the person who would be given to the god. Then they offered it to a god of Mitsuke shrine. When the bad monsters came and saw it, Shippei Taro jumped out and attacked them. Shippei Taro fought hard to kill them. They kept fighting for a long time and Shippei Taro finally won the battle. He saved the lives of the person and the town. After that, the tragedy was over and peace came to people. People lived happily ever after.
There are many other stories about Shippei Taro. Some people say that after that incident, Shippei Taro lived happily and died at Kozenji temple, his hometown. Other people say that he died on the way to Kozenji temple from the Mitsuke shrine. Anyway, because of this legend, Komagane city and Iwata city are sister city to each other. In Komagane city, Shippei Taro is called Hayataro. I am not sure if the story is true, but all we know is that Shippei Taro or Hayataro is loved by everyone and there is even the statue of him at both Mitsuke shrine and Kozenji temple.
I would be happy that you remember the legend of Shippei Taro when you visit either the shrine or the temple.