Oikube Byobu-jinja Shrine (Tenno-san)
The time-honored shrine, located at Yakuoji, has long been affectionately called “Tenno-san” as it enshrines the deity of cow and horse. The shrine was designated as “Shikinai-sha”, the official shrine listed in Engishiki, an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers in the 9th century. The shrine, also listed as “Kensha” (prefectural shrine) in the now-defunct Modern Times Shakaku System, drew in many prayers. Prayer hall and main hall are designated as cultural properties by Hyogo Prefecture. Legend has it that, during the era of Emperor Yomei (585-587), Imperial Prince Maroko visited the shrine to pray to the enshrined deity Gozu Tenno (gosirsa) on the way to his imperially commissioned subjugation campaign against the ogre living in Mount Oe in the current Kyoto Prefecture.
The Belief In The Breasts Of Big Ginkgo Tree
There is a several-year-old big ginkgo tree in the precincts of Tenno-san. The tree has saggy breasts. There has been an anecdote that drinking tea made from its brewed bark and eating ginkgo nuts help a mother have a high milk yield. It is said that a wife of the lord of Izushi Clan (present the northern part of Hyogo) also had it.
Remains Of Kubata Barrier Station
Kubata Barrier Station of Izushi Clan had functioned as an important position of traffic and culture on the Sanin Kaido Road connecting Kyoto and the Sanin Region. In 1864, after the defeat by Conspiracy of Hamaguri-Gomon Gate in Kyoto, Kogoro Katsura (later Takayoshi Kido), a retainer of Choshu Region (present Yamaguchi Prefecture), had to run away from Shogun’s retainer Shinsen-gumi. So he escaped from Kyoto to try to sneak over to Izushi. On its way, he had to pass the station. Being suspected of Katsura himself, he was almost apprehended. However, he narrowly got away from the trouble thanks to the last-minute inspiration by Jinsuke Hiroto, an accompanying Izushi merchant. After that, he kept himself hidden in Izushi and in the Kinosaki Onsen (hot springs) area. Later, he played a crucial role in overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate with Takamori Saigo and Toshimichi Okubo and establishing the new Meiji Government.
Japanese Giant Salamanders (The designated national natural treasure)
The amphibian can grow to the size of one meter in body length. In 2004, during the restoration work of typhoon-hit Izushi River (between Hirata and Kubata), about 400 salamanders were found and temporarily protected. After the work, they were brought back to the river.