Japan's Shrines & Deities    日本の神社と神々

"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”


Latest shrine description: August ?, 2020:         Sugawara Jinja     Sakai-shi, Sakai-ku

How many shrines in Japan?


at least 174,000

possibly 261,000

Number of shrines in database: 68,452

Number of shrines on webpage: 182

How many Kami in Japan?


proverbially eight million

but as they can be everywhere

and in everything

the number is incalculable

Recent Additions


August ??'  Sugawara Jinja  菅原神社

August 4: Horikoshi Jinja   堀越神社

Along with Ōe Jinja, and Kobori Inari Jinja is one of  The Seven Shitennoji Miya. Was built In honour of Shōtoku Taishi’s uncle, the 32nd emperor, Sushun. There is a saying closely associated with the shrine, "The Kami of Horikoshi Jinja will grant you a lifetime wish once in your life.” 

July 26:   Kobore Inari Jinja   河堀稲生神社

One of the The Seven Shitennoji Miya. Its precursor may date to the reign of the semi-legendary 12th Emperor, Keiko (reigned 71–130). Founded as an Inari Jinja; when  Shōtoku Taishi had  Shitennoji Temple built in 593 a main hall was built at the shrine and Emperor Sushun was jointly enshrined.

July 15:   Kōzu-gū   高津宮

This shrine honours the memory of the 16th emperor, Nintoku (reigned 313-399), who designated the Naniwa area (current Ōsaka) as the imperial capital and gave it the name Kōzu-gū. The shrine itself was probably founded in 866. It has long been closely associated with the development of rakugo in Ōsaka and many famous performances have been given in its assembly/entertainment hall.

June 30:   Gojō-no-Miya   五条宮

This is the only jinja in the country where Emperor Bidatsu, the ancestor of the Tachibana family is enshrined. It was probably built in 593 along with the Shitennō-ji temple to serve as the spiritual guardian of the  temple’s two medical institutions. Reflecting this, its initial kami were the kami of medicine, Gojō Ōkami and Sukunahikone-no-Mikoto. 

June 17:  Ōe Jinja    大江神社

In Osaka-shi, Tennōji-ku, Said to be one of the Seven Tennōji no Miya, meaning that it  was founded in the late seventh century.  Three of the other Tennōji no Miya were merged into it in 1911/12.  The shrine grounds are  extensive,  almost 6,000 sq.m., and house 130 camphor and lotus/nettle  trees. It has been designated a forest conservation area by Ōsaka-shi.

June 3:  Sukuna-hikona  Jinja     少彦名神社

In Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku. Sukunahikona Jinja offers a very good example of the unity of the spiritual and commercial worlds. It was founded in the building of a trade organisation specialising in traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicines, and to this day the organisation continues to function under the aegis of the shrine. The two enshrined kami are Sukunabi-kona-no-kami and Shennong, respectively the founding fathers of traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicine.

May 25: Ikasuri Jinja 坐摩神社

In Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku. One of Osaka’s most important shrines. One theory traces its origin to an act of worship by Japan’s first legendary emperor, Jimmu, another to a similar act  by the semi-legendary Empress Jingu on returning from her Korean venture. Listed in Engi-shiki as one of two Ichi-no-Miya for Settsu Province. Moved to its current location between 1624 and 1644. Its in-ground shrine, Toki (Porcelain) Jinja is interesting in its own right and holds a potters' festival each July 22.

May 15:  Goryo Jinja     御霊神社 Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku. In existence by 850. Among the original kami was Seoritsuhime, one of the most mysterious in the Japanese pantheon. She appears in neither the Kojiki nor the Nihongi, but is mentioned in a Great Purification Ceremony norito (liturgical chant). There is speculation that she may be Amaterasu Ōkami-aratama, the main kami of the shrine, under another name. A pair of splendid bronze koma-inu date to 1615. These were created by  Fujiwara Masatsugu, who was also a swordsmith of some note.

May 5:  Ichinotsubo Jinja     市ノ坪神社

In Kanagawa-ken, Kawasaki-shi, Nakahara-ku. The most interesting aspects of this jinja are its enshrined kami, Omodaru and Ayakashihikone, the 6th of the Seven Generations of Celestial Kami, the one preceding that of Izanagi and Izanami. Omodaru is usually seen as the male component of the pair, Ayakashihikone the female. In pre-modern times this 6th generation was often seen as a temporary incarnation of the Buddhist god pāpīyas (Sanskrit), the Devil king of the 6th heaven in the world of desire, who under his Japanese name of Dairokutenma-Ō,was worshipped at shrines and temples.

April 29:   Takaoka Jinja    神社

In Hyogō-ken, Himeji-shi. Despite it's being one of the four shrines listed in the Harima  Province/Shikama section of the Engi Shiki its affairs are now overseen by the nearby Aga Jinja. One of the seven enshrined kami is Emperor Sudō. There is no such historical emperor: the title was bestowed posthumously. I think this is the only such example in Japanese history.

April 20:  Ikuta Jinja  生田神社

A Shikinai-sha and one of Kobe's top three shrines. Founded in 201 by Empress Jingu a year after she returned from her Korean incursion. The kami, Wakahirume, is considered to be Amaterasu's younger sister, or possibly child. The shrine was moved to its present location in 799.


April 6:   Inage Jinja  稲毛神社

In Kanagawa-ken, Kawasaki-shi, Kawasaki-ku. Not clear when this shrine was founded but the presence in its grounds of a large ginkgo  tree thought to be over 1,000 years old hints at its antiquity.  The tree was damaged in the 1945 fire bombing but has slowly been recovering. In 1986 a ring of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals was built around it. 



                                                                                     Layout design support : Akiko Morita                                                                                                                                                                            レイアウトデザイン協力:森田 明子

Notes: 1) Throughout this site the colour violet is associated with kami/gods, red with shrines/jinja

                                          2) For Japanese words in italics on this site the Japanese script equivalents can be found in the Vocabulary

© Rod Lucas 2016-2020

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated