Yomi

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天瓊を以て滄海を探るの図. Painting by Eitaku Kobayashi (Meiji period). Izanagi to the right; Izanami, ruler of Yomi, to the left.

Yomi (黄泉), the Japanese word for the underworld in which horrible creatures guard the exits. According to Shinto mythology as related in Kojiki, this is where the dead go to exist and rot forever. When one eats at the hearth of Yomi it is impossible to return to the land of the living. Yomi is similar to Hades or Hell. In the Shintoist tradition, Yomi is known because Izanami retreated to that place after her death. Izanagi followed her there and when he returned, he washed himself, creating Amaterasu, Susanoo, and Tsukuyomi. (See Japanese mythology.)

Yomi is different from Christian Hell in that all souls go there, no matter their actions in life; and one does not receive punishment for evils made when alive. It is a dirty and polluted place. In Japanese tradition, pollution is usually associated to evil. By the tradition of Kojiki, Yomi is usually believed to be underground, and its entrance to be located in Izumo province.

Yomi is ruled over by Izanami no Mikoto, the Grand Deity of Yomi (Yomotsu-Ōkami 黄泉大神). According to Kojiki. The entrance to Yomi was blocked by Izanagi when he returned to Earth, using a great boulder (Chibiki-no-Iwa 千引の岩) at the base of the slope that leads to Yomi (Yomotsu Hirasaka 黄泉平坂).


Amaterasu cave crop.jpg

Japanese Mythology & Folklore

Mythic Texts and Folktales:
Kojiki | Nihon Shoki | Otogizōshi | Yotsuya Kaidan
Urashima Tarō | Kintarō | Momotarō | Tamamo-no-Mae
Divinities:
Izanami | Izanagi | Amaterasu
Susanoo | Ama-no-Uzume | Inari
List of divinities | Kami | Seven Lucky Gods
Legendary Creatures:
Oni | Kappa | Tengu | Tanuki | Fox | Yōkai | Dragon
Mythical and Sacred Places:
Mt. Hiei | Mt. Fuji | Izumo | Ryūgū-jō | Takamagahara | Yomi