Yamato Sanzan

Yamato Sanzan

Yamato Sanzan (大和三山, Three Hillls of Yamato) are located near the city of Kashihara in Nara Prefecture, Kansai Region.

These three mountains are Unebiyama, Amanokagushima and Miminashiyama. All three of them are formed of igneous rock and are mentioned in the Man’yōshū.1

Mount Unebi

  • Co-ordinates: 34°29′32.5″N135°47′06″E
  • Height: 199.2m

畝傍山 (also known as Jimyō-ji San) is according to tradition the Emperor Jimmu both lived and was buried here. At the peak of the mountain the Shinto shrine, Kashiwabara-jingu, was constructed in his honor in 1889. Close by are the tombs supposedly for the Emperors Annei and Itoku.2 Prince Kamiyawimimi is said to have been buried on its northern side.4

Mount Kagu

  • Co-ordinates: 34°29′43.5″N135°49′05.5″E
  • Height: 152.4m

香具山 (Mount Gleaming/Mount Hanging) is said to have descended from Heaven to Earth and is stated to be home of the Spirit Nakisawame, who lives at the base of the tree trunks there according to the Kojiki. The mountain is later mentioned in Kojiki after Amaterasu hides in the Sacred Rock Cave. A stag is gathered from here and used for divination by Ameno Futodama and Ameno Koyane while the Gods figure out how to coax her from the cave. A sacred tree is also taken from here from which a sacred mirror and magatama are hung from. This tree is later used in the attempt to get Amaterasu to leave the cave.3 An alternative version of the Nihongi says Ishikoridome gathered copper from here to form a Sun Spear to help in bringing her from the cave.4

It is located east of Kashihara city.3

Mount Miminashi

  • Co-ordinates: 34°30′53″N135°48′20″E
  • Height: 139.7


1. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
2. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
3. Yasumaro. O, translated by Gustav Heldt. (2014) “Kojiki. An Account of Ancient Matters”. New York: Columbia University Press.
4. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.

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Yamato Sanzan