Goddess Ukemochi is a Shinto Goddess responsible for cooking and food, especially grains. There are several grain-related deities, such as Goddess Inari, for example, and Ukemochi is often seen as an aspect of Goddess Toyouke (in the main image here) and Goddess Ogetsuhime which can lead us to see Ukemochi as a Goddess Triple.
Although the three have different histories each, in the end, they are all responsible for abundant food and they all are related to Goddess Amaterasu in some way. They are also related to the brothers of Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi and Susanoo.
Check below a video with the stories of Toyouke, Ukemochi and Ogetsuhime:
Ukemochi, as well as Toyouke and Ogetsuhime, are calm Goddesses renowned for offering banquets and plentiful food to everyone in need. All of them provide food and grains, used by Amaterasu, to plant rice fields on Earth.
- Attributes: Goddess of rice, nutrition, abundance and cooking
- Symbols: Food in general, mainly rice, beans, corn, wheat and nori (a type of edible seaweed, common in oriental cuisine)
- Place: Japan
Goddess Ukemochi – Goddess of Food
Goddess Ukemochi has her main story told in Nihongi. It is said that Amaterasu sent her brother, Tsukuyomi, to visit Ukemochi. When he reached her, the Goddess produced a huge banquet with 100 tables filled with many different types of food.
Ukemochi produced this banquet through her mouth, a fact that filledTsukuyomi with disgust and anger, for he considered the food “polluted.” Tsukuyomi then took his sword and killed Ukemochi.
From Ukemochi’s head came the cattle; Rice sprang from her belly, and wheat and beans emerged from her genitals.
Amaterasu, saddened by what happened, did not want to meetTsukuyomi anymore. Thus, Sun and Moon are separated. At the same time, Amaterasu was happy to know that Ukemochi had been turned into grains and she used them to spread crops across the Earth.
According to The Kojiki, the story of Ogetsuhime is very similar to that of Ukemochi. When Susanoo was expelled from the skies, he went after Ogetsuhime in search of food. The Goddess prepared a banquet for him, just like Ukemochi, producing food from her mouth. Susanoo did not like the attitude and killed the Goddess whose body produced rice, soybeans, beans, silkworms and more.
Goddess Toyouke, on the other hand, does not have a tragic ending. She was very attached to Amaterasu and therefore Amaterasu ordered her to have her temple transferred from the province of Tamba to the Temple of Ise, where Amaterasu is enshrined. Since then, Toyouke is in Geiku (Outer Sanctuary) and Amaterasu is in Naiku (Inner Shrine).
Goddess Ukemochi – Goddess of Abundance
Ukemochi, Ogetsuhime and Toyouke are Goddesses who provide food in abundance and were responsible for spreading grains for crops all over the Earth.
To this day, these Goddesses receive offerings in their temples, but instead of gold and precious things, they receive food prepared with as much love as what they feel for people.