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: May 25, 2020:             Ikasuri  Jinja              Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku

How many shrines in Japan?


at least 174,000

possibly 261,000

Number of shrines in database: 67,824

Number of shrines on webpage: 178

How many Kami in Japan?


proverbially eight million

but as they can be everywhere

and in everything

the number is incalculable

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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. 

March 26 How Many Shrines in Inagi-shi? At least 17

On its home page the Association of Shintō Shrines lists 14 shrines registered with it in Inagi-shi. Four of these seem to be double counted, however, so the real number is ten.  My database has 12 main shrines and five in-ground shrines, the latter are all at Ōmatonotsunoten Jinja.

March 25    Ōmatonotsunoten Jinja     大麻止乃豆乃天神社i

In Tōkyō, Inagi-shi My Japanese friends assure me that this shrine''s name is as difficult to read in Japanese as it is in English. One of two candidates to be the shrine of this name mentioned in the Engi-shiki so it was probably in existence before 927 when the said work was completed. The other candidate is  Musashi Mitake Jinja in Ome-shi. The main kami at both shrines is the relatively uncommon Kushinachi-Mikoto, who is featured in neither the Kojiki nor the Nihon Shoki.

March 17  Tsukudo Jinja    筑土神社

In Tōkyō, Chiyoda-ku. Origin dates to 940 when Taira Masakado's severed head was smuggled back from Kyoto to Tokyo in a bucket  specifically designed for that purpose. The shrine is the ground floor of a gleaming office building which was built in 1994. 

March 6  Inari  Ōkami   稲荷大神

In Yokohama-shi, Isogo-ku. A small, apparently undocumented shrine. This one is purely for the record. I came across it when visiting Negishi Hachiman. Facing the torii of the latter it is about 100m to the right at the bottom of the same hill. I have been unable to find out anything about it. As the photos show, it is being looked after.

March 1,   Negishi Hachiman Jinja       根岸稲荷神社

In Yokohama-shi, Isogo-ku. An anecdote tells us the  shrine was founded in 543 when a golden light drifted in from the ocean and deposited a carving of a kami on the beach. This became the shintai of the shrine. The Negishi Forest Park is located a steep climb up behind the shrine.

Nov. 24:  Sugimori Jinja     椙森神社   

In Tōkyō, Chūō-ku. One of the six small shrines which I visited on a 1.25km round trip from Ningyōchō Station.  thought to have been established in 931. along with Karasumori Jinja and Yanagimori Jinja one of the Three Edo Shine Groves. One of the Nihonbashi Seven Lucky Gods, the kami is Ebisu.



                                                                                     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