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Japan's Shrines and Deities

​日本の神社と神々

Latest Shrine Description:

石神井稲荷神社

Tokyo-to, Nerima-ku

Sacred Tokyo 40 Shinto Shrines

"...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。

There are now 230 shrines described on this website. Maintaining it is an ongoing labour of love—there is virtually no external copy and paste—and takes a considerable amount of time. I would very much appreciate it if you would show your appreciation by buying my book "Sacred Tokyo, 40 Shinto Shrines". Details can be found by clicking the image at the top right hand corner of this page. 

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: 70,260

Number of shrines on webpage: 230

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

November 30:  Shakujii Inari Shrine    石神井稲荷神社

This Inari Shrine is located in a corner of the Kamishakujii Heights housing complex. The site had been the sports ground of the then Tokyo University of Commerce, the current Hitotsubashi University. The university’s campus in Kanda in central Tokyo was badly damaged by fire in 1923 and a temporary school building for preparatory students was constructed on this site. It was used from 1924 until being moved to Kodaira in August 1933.

November 25: Miharadai Inari Shrine  三原台稲荷

Dates to the early years of the eighteenth century. The oldest parts of the shrine, dating to the Taisho Period, 1912-1926, are the main torii and the stone lanterns. The main hall and prayer hall were rebuilt in 1959. Inside the latter there is a collection of 36 ema and votive tablets from the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. There are several stone monuments in two smaller, unnamed shrines in the grounds dedicated to, among others, Ontake Okami, Komyo Reijin, and  Hitoyama Reijin.
 

November 13: Mitsumine Shrine 三峯神社

As far as I am aware there is almost nothing in the publc domain about this shrine. What makes it interesting is the gatherings that were held here to pray to Jukuya Sama (十九夜様, lit. Goddess of the 19th night). She is a manifestation of Kannon Bosatsu. The 19th was decided on under the lunar calendar and the gatherings were often held every month. It seems that they lasted until the moon rose. The people attending the gathering were mostly local women praying for safe childbirth. 

At the back of the shrine is a collecton of seven carvings of the associated Buddhist deities and the characters Jukuya can be deciphered on some of them.

November 6:  Torikoe Shrine 鳥越神社

Founded in 651 as Shiratori Myojin, although legend has it that this is the renaming of a shrine built by Yamato Takeru in the first century to honour his two imperial ancestors. Later renamed Torikoe (lit. "Bird Crossing") Daimyojin by Minamoto Yoriyoshi following divine intervention in the form of a white bird which enabled his army to cross the River Sumida while engaged in the Early Nine Years' War in the mid-eleventh century.

October 30:  Suga Shrine  須賀神社

Founded by Fujiwara Hidesato in 940 after his victory over Taira Masakado in the Tengyo Rebellion. The Kami of Hachiman-Sha in Kyoto’s Gion district, Susanoo, was enshrined through the kanjō process. The shrine is spacious and connected to what was the Nikko Kaido by a long approach road. Another of the interesting features of the shrine is the way in which ten in-ground shrines are grouped together, with a separate torii.

October 24: Kajitori Inari Jinja 揖取稲荷神社

A small shrine in the heart of downtown Tokyo just across the Sumida River from the National Sumo Arena in Ryogoku. In the Keicho Period (1596-1615), ships transporting large stones from Kumamoto in Kyushu to Edo to be used in the construction of rice granaries sometimes ran into difficulties off the coast of Enshu (western Shizuoka). To help placate the gods, an Inari Jinja was built inside the rice storehouse in Asakusa in downtown Edo. The shrine was named Kajitori Inari Jinja.

October 20:  Yakumo Hikawa Shrine 氷川神社

Said to have been founded on Sept. 19, 707 when the work force of what was then Fusuma Village built a small shrine. Nothing more is heard of it until the 19th century, when we are told that by 1855 it had reached its present size and form. The shrine is basically dedicated to Susano-o and his encounter with the Eight-Forked Serpent. Among other things, he also wrote the oldest waka in the Japanese language and it is from this waka that the name Yakumo is derived.

October 14:   Itsukushima Shrine  厳島神社

Although surrounded by trees and many other plants this shrine is not in a “preserved forest” area but sits on a small island in a lake, known as Himonya Lake or Benten Lake, in the midst of Himonya Park.  It is said to have been founded in the Warring States Period (1467-1615), when the lake was used for rice cultivation and irrigation water for what was then Himonya Village. The Kami of the shrine, Ichikishima-hime, was worshipped as the god of water and fire. 

October 4: Tenso Shrine  天祖神社

The area which this shrine serviced had long been known as Ise Forest (伊勢森). The enshrined Kami is Amaterasu Okami. When the shrine was founded is unclear, but the presence within its grounds of several trees a few centuries old could mean that the shrine is of a similar age. The shrine grounds contain two koshinto, one dating to 1708, the other to 1716. Both are designated as cultural assets by Meguro-ku. The shrine also has "Preserved Forest" designation.

September 29:   Karasumori Inari Shrine    烏森稲荷神社

This Inari Jinja was possibly founded around the turn of the seventeenth century when a small shrine where Inari Kami was worshipped was moved from the grounds of a temple called Jufukuji, now located at Kamimeguro 5-16-6, to the shrine’s current location. Reflecting its relatively well-wooded nature the shrine has been designated a "preserved forest" by Meguro-ku. The forest is 889 sq.m. in area and consists mostly of Gingko, Zelkova, and Bambo Leaved Oak Trees.

September 26: Kasamori Inari Daimyojin   瘡守稲荷大明神

Along with the usual caveat that the origins of this Inari Jinja are not clear I have to add another one, fortunately not so common, that I have been able to find out virtually nothing about it. All I know is that it exists, and is a 5 mins walk away from Naka-meguro Station in the grounds of the Shogakuji temple (Japanese).

September 2: Nishiayase Inari Shrine 西綾瀬稲荷神社

Just when this Inari Jinja was established is not clear, but it has a close connection to the Kosuge Palace. The latter no longer exists, but was in the grounds of what is now the Tokyo Detention Center and an old drawing of the palace shows the shrine about 350m to the northeast, where it acts as a guardian against the inauspicious influences thought to come from that direction in Taoism 

August 28:  Ayase Shrine    綾瀬神社

Another of the Three Ayase Jinja. In 1755 two shrines, Hikawa Jinja and Dairokuten-Sha, were founded. Coming into the Meiji Period, Hikawa Jinja was given Village Shrine ranking, while Dairokuten-Sha’s name was changed to Koroku Jinja and it received no ranking. In 1971 the latter was merged into the former: this shrine was then rebuilt, and on completion in October 1975 it was renamed Ayase Jinja.

August 23: Kitano Shrine (Ayase)   北野神社

One of the "Three Ayase Jinja," its affairs are managed by Ayase Inari Jinja, Established in August 1504 when four jinja—Inari-Sha, Tenjin-Sha, Dairokuten-Sha, Hachiman-Sha—were built on land adjoining a newly constructed Buddhist temple. Inari-Sha and Tenjin-Sha were later merged, Dairokuten-Sha and Hachiman-Sha were moved and became auxiliary shrines of the Inari/Tenjin entity, which was then given the name Kitano Jinja. 

August 14::  Inari Shrine (Ayase)   稲荷神社

Founded in 1614. Most important of the Three Ayase Jinja. Two of its koma-inu are known as the Rakugo Koma-inu as they were donated to the shrine by the Rakugo performer, Enjo Sanyutei. Has an in-ground Fujizuka. The kanji and pictures of kitsune on the pedestals of the two koma-inu are the work of another Rakugo performer, Kosan Yanagiya V

July 31:  Yoga Shrine   用賀神社

It is said that this shrine was initially known as Tenso Jinja, but little is really known about its foundation. Yoga Village was established between 1558 and 1573. Yoga Jinja as we know it today is the result of several shrines being merged in 1908. One of these merged shrines, Usa Jinja, is thought to have been founded sometime during the Tensho Period (1573-1591) with the enshrinement of the deity of Tsuragaoka Hachiman-Gu via the kanjō process.

July 19:   Rokusho Shrine    六所神社

The shrine’s home page tells us that in December 1584  a descendant of Taira Sadamori, Hattori Sadatane服部貞胤, founded the shrine by enshrining Okunitama Okami, the Kami of the venerable Okunitama Jinja in Fuchi-shi, through the kanjō process. However, the historical records of the time were destroyed during the frequent fires at the end of the Kamakura Period and the shrine’s origins are in fact unclear.

 

 

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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