Susano’s life in exile

After being exiled, Susano came down from Heaven to Earth in the vicinity of the river Hi, Shimane prefecture. The river’s surroundings are strongly related to Japanese mythology, as several events of the Japanese myths are taking place there. The river itself measures 153 km, flows from the Sentsu Mountain, and ends its run in Lake Shinji. Also, in this region a temple was built in honor of Susano – Kumano Taisha.

Coming back to Susano, he once noticed in a nearby stream two chopsticks flowing in the water. He deducted that when going up the stream he will meet some people, and thus decided to check it out. After some time, he came across a couple of older people with a beautiful young woman who turned out to be their daughter. Because the people wept, Susano decided to find out what’s bothering them. He learned that the reason for their worry was a dragon with eight heads and eight tails – Yamato-no-orochi, which has devoured seven of their eight daughters, and soon the encountered couple also had to return the last, Kusa-nada-hime (Princess of Rice Paddies).

Susano revealed to the couple and their daughter his true identity and promised to help the people, but in return he asked for the hand of their daughter. The couple willingly agreed. To ensure that no harm will happen to the Princess, he turned her into a comb and put it in his hair. Furthermore, he asked the girl’s parents to fill eight barrels with sake and put them behind a fence, which had eight holes.

When the dragon appeared, it stuck its heads in the eight holes in the fence, drank all the sake, and fell to the ground drunk. Susano was looking forward to this moment – he left his hiding place as soon as the dragon lost consciousness, and cut it into pieces. In the body of the dragon, to be more specific: in the tail, Susano found the Kusanagi sword – one of the three legendary items. As soon as the dragon was defeated, Susano turned Kusa-nada-hime back to her human form, married her and built a palace at Suga.

Susano and Kusa-nada-hime had many sons, and among them one who will outshine the reputation of others – Okuninushi (or: Onamuchi).


  • Littleton C. Scott – Japanese Mythology
  • Matsumae Takeshi – Early Kami Worship in ”The Cambridge History of Japan – Ancient Japan”, Cambridge University Press

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