Chapter Eight. Kitzuki: The Most Ancient Shrine of Japan
'Of Shinto I know little. But there are eight hundred myriads of Kami in the Plain of High Heaven - so says the Ancient Book. Of these, three thousand one hundred and thirty and two dwell in the various provinces of the land; being enshrined in two thousand eight hundred and sixty-one temples. And the tenth month of our year is called the "No-God-month," because in that month all the deities leave their temples to assemble in the province of Izumo, at the great temple of Kitzuki; and for the same reason that month is called in Izumo, and only in Izumo, the "God-is- month." But educated persons sometimes call it the "God-present- festival," using Chinese words. Then it is believed the serpents come from the sea to the land, and coil upon the sambo, which is the table of the gods, for the serpents announce the coming; and the Dragon-King sends messengers to the temples of Izanagi and Izanami, the parents of gods and men.'
'O Akira, many millions of Kami there must be of whom I shall always remain ignorant, for there is a limit to the power of memory; but tell me something of the gods whose names are most seldom uttered, the deities of strange places and of strange things, the most extraordinary gods.'
'You cannot learn much about them from me,' replies Akira. 'You will have to ask others more learned than I. But there are gods with whom it is not desirable to become acquainted. Such are the God of Poverty, and the God of Hunger, and the God of Penuriousness, and the God of Hindrances and Obstacles. These are of dark colour, like the clouds of gloomy days, and their faces are like the faces of gaki.' 
'With the God of Hindrances and Obstacles, O Akira I have had more than a passing acquaintance. Tell me of the others.'
'I know little about any of them,' answers Akira, 'excepting Bimbogami. It is said there are two gods who always go together, - Fuku-no-Kami, who is the God of Luck, and Bimbogami, who is the God of Poverty. The first is white, and the second is black.'
'Because the last,' I venture to interrupt, 'is only the shadow of the first. Fuku-no-Kami is the Shadow-caster, and Bimbogami the Shadow; and I have observed, in wandering about this world, that wherever the one goeth, eternally followeth after him the other.'
Akira refuses his assent to this interpretation, and resumes:
'When Bimbogami once begins to follow anyone it is extremely difficult to be free from him again. In the village of Umitsu, which is in the province of Omi, and not far from Kyoto, there once lived a Buddhist priest who during many years was grievously tormented by Bimbogami. He tried oftentimes without avail to drive him away; then he strove to deceive him by proclaiming aloud to all the people that he was going to Kyoto. But instead of going to Kyoto he went to Tsuruga, in the province of Echizen; and when he reached the inn at Tsuruga there came forth to meet him a boy lean and wan like a gaki. The boy said to him, "I have been waiting for you" - and the boy was Bimbogami.
'There was another priest who for sixty years had tried in vain to get rid of Bimbogami, and who resolved at last to go to a distant province. On the night after he had formed this resolve he had a strange dream, in which he saw a very much emaciated boy, naked and dirty, weaving sandals of straw (waraji), such as pilgrims and runners wear; and he made so many that the priest wondered, and asked him, "For what purpose are you making so many sandals?" And the boy answered, "I am going to travel with you. I am Bimbogami."'
'Then is there no way, Akira, by which Bimbogami may be driven away?'
'It is written,' replies Akira, 'in the book called Jizo-Kyo-Kosui that the aged Enjobo, a priest dwelling in the province of Owari, was able to get rid of Bimbogami by means of a charm. On the last day of the last month of the year he and his disciples and other priests of the Shingon sect took branches of peach-trees and recited a formula, and then, with the branches, imitated the action of driving a person out of the temple, after which they shut all the gates and recited other formulas. The same night Enjobo dreamed of a skeleton priest in a broken temple weeping alone, and the skeleton priest said to him, "After I had been with you for so many years, how could you drive me away?" But always thereafter until the day of his death, Enjobo lived in prosperity.'
For an hour and a half the ranges to left and right alternately recede and approach. Beautiful blue shapes glide toward us, change to green, and then, slowly drifting behind us, are all blue again. But the far mountains immediately before us - immovable, unchanging - always remain ghosts. Suddenly the little steamer turns straight into the land - a land so low that it came into sight quite unexpectedly - and we puff up a narrow stream between rice-fields to a queer, quaint, pretty village on the canal bank - Shobara. Here I must hire jinricksha to take us to Kitzuki.