From the morning mist, the deer appear one by one. Through the fine veils of the dim sun light, everything looks soft. Here, the Sakura blossoms (cherry blossoms) are passing the last stage. If one more wind blows, all petals will fall immediately. I love Sakura in all phases, but now how delicate and subtle grace they show.
This spacious grass field , which is part of Kasuga Grand Shrine precincts, is called "Tobihino, 飛火野- Flying Fire Field". The name is derived from a myth .
When Nara became the Capital of Japan in 710, the new Capital needed a strong protection. So, the most powerful god was invited to protect Nara. He came from Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki near Tokyo, travelling on the back of a white deer. The god arrived in Nara at night. To welcome him and light the way, one deity belched fires. But the fires continued to roll over the field and never went out. The emperor ordered field guards to take care of the fires. Another theory says that smoke signals were made here in the 8th century.
That's why the field is called "Flying Fire Field".
The field is also the place where noble people used to take a walk and enjoy picking up spring grasses in Nara Period (710 - 784). Did they see the scene which I see now? Did they see deer appearing like this?
I feel time has flown slowly here since ancient times.
(My related blog Once Upon a Time, My Town Nara)
Tobihino field just before sunset
In May, here becomes the paradise of wild wisteria flowers.
This tree is a guardian of Tobihino field. Its trunk is completely hollow, but the tree is growing and thriving.(My related blog, Amazing Power of Trees)
A travelling priest finds a pond and gets interested in it. He asks an elderly field guard the name of the pond. The guard answers it is called "野守の鏡、the mirror of a field guard". Because field guards use the pond as a mirror. He continues and says that this pond has a special power. When the emperor lost his hawk during hunting, this pond told the location of the hawk in its reflections. At night the guard transforms himself into a fierce deity and appears with a magical mirror in front of the priest. The deity says that his mirror is the real mirror of a field guard. He shows the priest everything from the hell to the heaven in the reflections of the mirror. When the deity stamps his feet, the ground is split in two. Inside the ground, the path to the hell appears. The deity climbs down the path and disappears. This story is set in Tobihino field.
Be careful if you find a strange path in Tobihino field. The path might lead you to the hell.
The fierce deity with a magical mirro in Noh play..
If there is a so-called power spot in Kasuga Grand Shrine, I guess it must be somewhere in Tobihino field. So whenever I come here, I keep a compass. Because I believe the compass will tell me any change of the magnetic field and pinpoint the power spot. Unfortunately, my compass has never told me any clue so far.