Myth#8 : Yamata No Orochi (eight-headed giant snake)

Toyohara Chikanobu Susanoo rescues Kushinada Hime from the dragon From Wikimedia Commons

Susanoo saw chopsticks were flowing down in the river. He thought someone lived in the upriver. So he went up along the river and found Kushinada Hime and her parents, Ashinazuchi(father) and Tenazuchi(mother), crying. He asked, “Why are you crying?”

Ashinazuchi replied, “A giant serpent with 8 heads called Yamata no Orochi lives in the mountains. Once a year, it comes down to the village and eats a girl. We had 8 daughters but 7 were already eaten and Kushinada Hime is our last daughter. But she will be also eaten as it is coming down here again very soon.”

As soon as he heard the reason, he made an offer to Ashinazuchi, “I will save your daughter so will you allow me to marry her? I am a brother of Amaterasu.”
Ashinazuchi and Tenazuchi accepted his offer and replied, “We are pleased to give my daughter to a such a noble man.”

Susanoo transformed Kushinada Hime into a sacred nail-shaped comb and prepared to kill Yamatano Orochi. First, he built a fence around their house, created eight entrances with a big pot of strong sake. Now, they were ready.

Later, the sky suddenly got dark. Along with eerie sounds, Yamata No Orochi with glistening red eyes showed up. As soon as it saw the pot set up at 8 entrances, it put its head in it and began drinking the strong sake. While it was drinking, Susanoo slowly got closer and slash it with a sword called “Totsuka No Tsurugi” and killed it. When he cut its tail in the end, he found a fine sword so he offered the fine sword to Amaterasu. It is called “Kusanagi No Tsurugi”.

As Susanoo promised, he saved Kushinada Hime. They got married after this incident.

Toyohara Chikanobu, Susanoo slaying the Yamata-no-Orochi. From Wikimedia Commons

After they got married, he went to find a suitable place to build a new palace to live with her. When he arrived at a place called Suga, he felt so fresh so he chose that place for their palace. The place is still called Suga today and Suga Jinja is located on where their palace was built.