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Japan's Shrines and 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.”

普通の外にいくつかの著名な品質を持っている、と畏敬の念を起こさせるあるいかなるビーイングは、カミと呼ばれています。

Sacred Tokyo 40 Shinto Shrines

Latest Shrine Description:

Saitama-ken, Asaka-shi

How many shrines in Japan?

日本にはいくつの神社がある?

at least 174,000

possibly 261,000

Number of shrines in database: 68,608

Number of shrines on webpage: 198

July 7: I have just published my first book, "Sacred Tokyo 40 Shinto Shrines." It is now available in both paperback and e-book formats on Kindle:   Japan  USA   UK. 

Please click image at top right to find out more about the book.

How many Kami in Japan?

日本にはどれほど多くの神様が存在する?

proverbially eight million

but as they can be everywhere

and in everything

the number is incalculable

                                           Recent Additions

 

July 30: Miyado Jinja  宮戸神社

Probably came into existence as a Kumano Jinja sometime during the Kamakura/Muromachi Periods when the Kumano faith was flourishing. Known as Miyado-Kumano Jinja it was seen as the tutelary shrine for Miyado Village. In 1956 the Kumano Sansha-related deities were returned to Kumano and the shrine assumed its current identity.

July 13:   Ibaraki-ken Gokoku Jinja  茨城県護国神社

This is one of the 52 Gokoku Jinja (lit. “Protect the Country Shrine”) affiliated with Yasukuni Jinja. What became the Gokoku Jinja were mostly founded shortly after the Meiji Restoration to honour those who had given their lives to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate.  This particular one traces its origin to a Chinrei-sha  set up in what is now Tōko Jinja, in the grounds of the nearbye Tokiwa Jinja in 1878.

May 18:  Tatehikawa Jinja     舘氷川神社

This Hikawa Jinja is said to have been built sometime between 859 and 877 by Fujiwara Nagakatsu, the Governor of Kashiwa  district, which encompassed what are now Shiki and Fushimi cities, enshrining the three kami of the Omiya Hikawa Jinja through the kanjō process.

May 4: Senba Jinja     千波神社

There is very little information readily available on this shrine. It is not one of the twelve shrines in Mito-shi listed on the Ibaraki-ken Jinjacho home page.

Looking at the enshrined kami, note that Ōhosazaki-no-mikoto is another name for the legendary Emperor Nintoku (reigned 313-399?), Takemizuchi-no-mikoto is a kami of thunder.

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April 26: Tokiwa Jinja     常盤神社

Established in 1873: enshrines two highly regarded feudal lords of the Mito Domain,  Tokugawa Mitsukuni and Tokugawa Nariaki. Mitsukuni is well known for having commissioned a team of Mito-based scholars to compile a monumental history of Japan, Dai Nihonshi. Nariaki built the  Kairakuen Garden in Mito-shi, which along with the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa and the Kourakuen Garden in Okayama is considered to be one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens.  

April 11:  Ikushima-Tarushima Jinja    生島足島神社

The Engi-shiki, dating to 927, lists this shrine as the major one for Shinano Province’s Chiisagata district and also lists its two kami, Ikushima Okami and Tarushima Okami, among the 23 worshipped in the Jingi-kan in the  Imperial Palace. Ikushima Okami is described as the kami creating and nourishing all things, while Tarushima  Okami empowers all beings to achieve their potential. These are quite rare kami; to the best of my knowledge the only other jinja where they are enshrined is Ikutama Jinja in Osaka’s Tennoji-ku

February 23:  Sueyoshi-Gū    末吉宮

One of the Eight Ryukyu Shrines. Founded sometime between 1450 and 1457 following dreams granted to the head priest of the Rinzai-sect Tenkai-ji Temple and the sixth monarch of the Ryukyu Kingdom by someone proclaiming himself to be Kumano Kongen.

February 11:  Hashirimizu Jinja    走水神社

This shrine is essentially a paean to the self sacrificing love of Otachibana for perhaps the quintessential Japanese tragic hero, Yamato Takeru. It may date to 110 A.D. when Otachibana flung herself into the waters of Tokyo Bay to placate the anger of the kami of the sea and allow Yamato Takeru's ship to proceed. 

January 30:  Bessho Jinja     別所神社

It is said that this shrine was founded as an offshoot of the Kumano Hongū Taisha through the bunri process, possibly in the last decade of the twelfth century, and was originally called Kumano-sha. It moved to its present location in 1682 and took its present name in 1878. The shrine’s main hall, constructed in 1788, was designated a tangible cultural asset by Ueda-shi in 1994

January 23:  Akihasan-hongū Akiha Jinja      秋葉山本宮 秋葉神社

The “Akihasan-hongū” indicates that it is the main shrine of the Akiba Shrine Grouping. shrine is located on Mount Akiha at the southern end of the Akaishi Mountain Range: its upper shrine is close to the 866m peak. There are various explanations as to its origin but it is clear that from medieval times it was regarded as a Shintai-san, a mountain which was seen as being a residence of the kami, and it is also sacred to Buddhists and Mountain Ascetics. The shrine legend dates its origin to 709. It is said that when the mountain began to rumble and fires broke out, the then reigning Empress Genmei (元明天皇) indicated that the newly built shrine should be dedicated to the Kami of fire prevention, Hino Kagutsuchi no Okami.

January 4:  Yoshida Jinja 吉田神社

Located atop a hill popularly known as Asahi-yama some 1.7km, 22 min, to the south of Mito Satation this is one of the Three Miya of Hitachi Province (常陸国三宮, the other two are Kasahara Jinja, 笠原神社, and Sakado Jinja 酒門神社, both also located in Mito-shi).  It is also one of the seven shrines in the Naka District (那珂郡) of Hitachi Province listed in the Engi-shiki (Procedures of the Engi Era, compiled in 927).​ Thought to have been founded sometime between 485 and 498.

 

September 22:  Sumiyoshi Taisha Shukuintongū   宿院頓宮

Best known for its housing of palanquins from Sumiyoshi Taisha and Ōtori Taisha during festivals on August 1 and July 31 respectively. Both of these shrines are Ichi-no-Miya, the former for Settsu Province, the latter for Izumi Province. I think the shrine is probably unique in this respect. Three of its four kami are specifically related to the sea, and is the fourth, Okinagatarashi-hime-no-mikoto, another name for Empress Consort Jingūkōgō, although in a different way. 

 

September 9: Shinmei Jinja   神経神社

Founded in 1833 as Asahi Jinja. The Shinmei Jinja name was adopted in 1841 and the original three kami, Ukanomitama, Sumiyoshi-Ōkami, and Kamayama-hiko, were replaced with Aamaterasu and Toyōuke. However, as the original three kami are still enshrined at the in-ground Toyohiko Inari Jinja it seems likely that this was the original Asahi Jinja.

August 30  Aguchi Jinja 開口神社

A Shiki-nai sha.The shrine’s legend traces its origin to a request by Empress Jingūkōgō while in the area during her return from the Korean campaign that a shrine honouring Shiotsuchino kami be built. Has long been closely associated with Sumiyoshi Taisha in Ōsaka’s Sumiyoshi-ku.

August 30: Which Kami in Which Shrines?

When complete this will be a list of all the kami enshrined in the jinja described on this web site. As of today, August 30, 2020, 73 kami enshrined in 173 jinja are listed.

August 16:  Sugawara Jinja  菅原神社

It is said that well over 1,000 years ago a carving made by Sugawara Michizane during his exile in Dazaifu and thrown into the sea by him was washed up nearby to the current shrine site. There are two "nade-ushi", lit. "caress cow/bull) in the shrine grounds, one made of marble, one of granite.

 

 

 

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

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