There is a shrine called Yuga shrine in Nara prefecture. It is located halfway up of Yuga mountain, near Nara Hotel.
The main enshrined deity is Uka no mitama, the deity of huge harvest of cereals, foods, or fertility. Today, Uka no mitama is also enshrined as the deity of thriving business, so you may see little shrines of this deity at a business district or on the top of a office building.
Uka no mitama is also seen as the same deity of Inari, the deity of harvests and the guardian of the land. There are usually fox statues at Inari shrines because it is said the messengers of Inari is a fox. Here, Yuga shrine, you can see two fox statues in front of the main building.
Yuga shrine was originally at Asuka Kyo (538~710), the imperial capital city of Japan before Heijyo Kyo (710~784) . It is said that when the city moved from Asuka to Heijyo Kyo, this shrine was also moved from Asuka to Yuga mountain. Therefore, Yuga mountain is also called “Asuka mountain at Heijyo Kyo”. Asuka Kyo was located at the present village Asuka, Nara prefecture.
You can see several old temples, shrines, or historical sites at Asuka village. If you love ancient stone monuments or old legendary stories, then you would love Asuka.
Yuga mountain is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.
There is a famous poem by Otomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume (700~750) in Nara period. Sakanoue no Iratsume is a famous poet during Asuka and Nara period.
ふるさとの あすかはあれと あおによし ならのあすかを みらくしよしも
Furusato no Asuka ha areto Aoniyoshi Nara no Asuka wo Mirakushiyoshimo
This poem means;
I cherish my old city Asuka, but Heijyo Kyo where the place with beautiful red and green color (temple’s color) is also nice and I would like to live and love this new city.
From Yuga shrine, you can see the main are of Nara city, and Asuka mountains. She may visited here and saw her beloved city Asuka, and made this poem. This poem shows the basic atmosphere of poems in Asuka and Nara period. It is simple, pastoral and unconstrained.
If you visit Nara, please visit Yuga shrine and feel the atmosphere of Asuka and Nara period.