Visiting the burial site of the head of Japan’s most evil demon in Kyoto


Don’t worry, our writer brought a Pikachu with him for protection.

The capital city of Kyoto was besieged by a spate of kidnappings that targeted young women. An investigation led by Emperor Ichijo determined that this was the work of a group of displaced oni (ogre-like demons) which was encroaching on the border of the city.

Japan’s mightiest warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu was tasked with stopping the demons and journeyed to their home on Mt. Oe.

Posing as priests, Minamoto and his team were able to gain an audience with the leader of the demons, the fearsome Shuten-doji, said to be the strongest oni to ever live. During their meeting Minamoto spiked Shuten-doji’s drink (knowing beforehand that he was a bit of a lush), rendering him unable to move.

Image: Wikipedia/Itsuo Art Museum

Minamoto and his men seized this opportunity by fending off the other oni, holding down Shuten-doji, and cutting off his head (depicted in the woodblock print above). However, in a final act of violence the severed head of Shuten-doji bit Minamoto’s head. Luckily, the resourceful warrior thought ahead and wore extra helmets, saving his life.

To prevent his resurrection, Shuten-doji’s head was buried in the consecrated ground of a Shinto Shrine on Mt. Oe. There it rested for centuries…

Lying.

Waiting.

A motorcycle raced along Highway 9 near the western edge of Kyoto City. It was driven by SoraNews24 writer Great Muromachi who was tasked with visiting the burial site of Shuten-doji’s head by his editor. He was told to go at night because, “no one else would be there to get in the way.”

In case things got spooky, Muromachi had packed a flashlight and Pikachu lantern.

It was a good idea, because things got spooky about one step into his walk towards the burial site which sat within the hallowed grounds of Kubizuka Daimyojin shrine further down the path.

Historic ruins, an old motel, bamboo groves, and other things that would look mundane in the daylight took on a much more sinister tone in the dark journey and littered his path.

“The hell is this?!”

Muromachi continued on his walk. There was no wind but he could hear the trees rustling. Who was watching him?

“This sucks.”

If he didn’t have a job to do, he would have turned around and gone back then and there. However, like other Greats before him such as Gatsby and Gazoo, Great Muromachi was a consummate pro and didn’t want to go back empty handed. So, he pressed on through the darkness, and after about 10 minutes, he reached the torii gate which marked the boundary of Kubizuka Daimyojin’s precincts.

Fear washed over our writer. Normally shrines exude a certain warmth as the sites of neighborhood festivals and other childhood events with the family. This shrine, however, seemed corrupted somehow.

The roots of the trees were exposed and blocked Muromachi’s path. It was as if something underneath was pushing them up in its own bid for escape.

A little farther and another torii was seen.

This one led to the inner precinct of of the shrine and is said to place a curse on all who pass through it. Shuten-doji’s head was on the other side though, so Muromachi had no choice but to pass through it.

He pulled out his secret weapon…

“Pikachu, I choose you!!!”

Pikachu’s light screen was super effective and allowed Muromachi to pass through the torii. However, in a try for a little more good karma, he also made a donation. Considering his very soul was on the line, a little more than one yen (US$0.009) would have probably worked better, but times were tight.

Finally, moving towards the back of this section, Muromachi finally came face-to-face with the burial site of Shuten-doji’s head. A sort of evil sensation seemed to emanate from the pile. It was as if, after a millennium of containment, the spiritual bonds holding in Shuten-doji’s awesome might were beginning to buckle.

Muromachi could have stood and pondered the historical significance of this location, but screw that. He was getting paid to come and see where the head was and that’s it. He double-timed it back to his bike and rode home.

The next day, Great Muromachi wrote his report on his visit to Kubizuka Daimyojin and submitted it to his editor.

However, that evening he received an email saying that no one at SoraNews24 had told him to go there to “look at some dumb pile of dirt.” He was very confused by this, but also very tired since he hadn’t slept much the night before. He turned off his computer and turned in early.

That night, Muromachi was awoken by the Windows start-up chime. His computer was turning on by itself.

“Who told me to go to that place?” he thought to himself when suddenly he heard a voice from across the dark room…

“Pika Pika PiiiiIIIIIiiiiKaaaahhhh! [Time to come home my son.]

An email came into the editorial department of SoraNews24. It was from Great Muromachi, who had been missing for several days. Here it is in its unedited form:

“Greetings clansmen,
I, Muromachi the Great, doth request thyne presence at Kubizuke Daimyonjin for a matter of great urgency. The soothsayers of Mount Oe doth proclaim the emergence of a merchant whom they sayeth hath concocted a pancake which is both purple and tasteth of an idol songstress’ nose secretions.
I beseech thee to send thyne youngest reporter to cover this most singular happening.
I would send directions as well, but I still cannot fathom this accursed machine!!! Gwarrrr! I vow I shall tear it apart and drink of its blood when I am free!!!
I am waiting. That is all.
Muromachi the Great”

▼ Attachment: PurplePancakeParty.jpg

We didn’t have any young reporters available at the time so we sent Mr. Sato instead. He said that the pancakes were “okay,” but that he would be staying on Mount Oe forever too – something about “witnessing the great rebirth.”

Anyway, at least we could get the address this time.

Shrine Information
Kubizuka Daimyojin / 首塚大明神
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nishikyo-ku, Oekutsukake-cho
京都府京都市西京区大枝沓掛町

Photos: SoraNews24 (Unless otherwise noted)
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