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Sacred Tokyo 40 Shinto Shrines

Japan's Shrines and Deities

日本の神社と神々

Latest Shrine Description:

Tokyo, Katsushika-ku

"...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。

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There are now well over 200 shrines described on this website. Maintaining it is an ongoing labour of love 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; orders  can be placed at Japan  USA   UK. 

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: 68,977

Number of shrines on webpage: 212

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

May 7:  Shibata Hachiman Jinja    柴又八幡神社

Probably best known for the fact that its main hall was built on top of a 6th century burial mound and its  association with Kiyoshi Atsumi,  the star of the very popular 1968-69 TV series “Otoko wa tsurai yo”( It’s tough being a man). 

May 1:  Fujimori Inari Jinja          藤森稲荷神社

I have been able to find out just one thing about this shrine. In a sentence in the Musashi Shinpen Fudoki (completed in 1389) dealing with Komyo-ji 光明寺 there is a comment that an Inari-sha known as Fujimori Inari-sha is located nearby.

(Komyo-ji was founded during the Tempyo Period (729-749) by Gyoki, and is currently located right across the street from Fujimori Inari Jinja).

April 17:  Hachiman Jinja  八幡神社

While the origin of this shrine is unclear it is said to have existed on public land in the Maginu/Tsuchihashi since olden times. In 1910,  following the enactment of the  Shrine Merger Order in 1906, it was merged into Maginu Jinja along with four other shrines, but later regained its independence. With the opening of the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Railway Line in 1966 the area flourished, and along with this  the shrine was rebuilt at a cost of ¥138 million.

January 18: Chichibu Jinja   秩父神社

Included as it is in the Engi-Shiki and having celebrated its 2100th anniversary in  2014 Chichibu Jinja is one of Kanto’s oldest and most eminent shrines. The shrine’s annual festival, the “Chichibu Night Festival”, is held on December 3, is one of Japan's Top Three Float Festivals, and in 2016 along with thirty-three other Japanese festivals was designated by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. Both Nikko Toshogu and Chichibu Jinja are known for their sets of three monkeys. The former are known as the Three Wise Monkeys and neither hear, see, nor speak evil. In contrast the Chichibu set, known as the Three Spirited Monkeys, see well, hear well, and speak well.

December 28:  Kuzuha-inari Jinja   樟葉稲荷神社

This one is very much just for the record. Other than what I saw with my own eyes I have been able to find out almost nothing  about it.  As the photos show it is a fairly typical small Inari Jinja. 64 steps lead up from the first torii to the level where the main hall is situated. There is a children’s playground there, and this, together with its proximity to Hitsujiyama Park,  seems to be the main attraction to the local residents.

December 22: Akiba Jinja        秋葉神社

This Akiba Jinja’s origin is said to have been in the Genryoku Period (1688-1704), when a certain Nakashigi Uemon from the Chichibu area was returning from a pilgrimage to Ise Jingu. While visiting  Akibasan DaiGongen in Shuchi District in what is now Shizuoka Prefecture he was so humbled by the majesty of the Kami that he successfully petitioned to have it enshrined in Chichibu through the kanjō process.

November 29:  Imamiya Jinja  今宮神社

For a long time what is now Chichibu Imamiya Jinja was a hodgepodge of Shinto shrines, Shugendo dojo, and Buddhist temples. It was founded around 100 AD by immigrants from Suwa who worshipped the apparently miraculous spring water gushing forth from Mt. Buko. En no Gyoja, the founder of mountain ascetism in Japan, and Kukai, the founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect, spent time in the shrine.

November 6:   Ne Jinja    子神社

This is one of three Ne Jinja in the Yokohama area. The other two are in Hodogaya-ku and Minami-ku. There are very few in the rest of Japan. Said to have been established around 600 AD. In 1457 its betto-ji, Tofuku-ji, moved to its, and presumably the shrine's, current site (they are separated by about 300m as the crow flies). Prior to that it had been subject to depradations by pirates. In 1594 the  then governor of the province, Echizen Matsudaira (越前松平), erected so-called “ roadside prohibition-edict boards” (禁制札) at each of the four corners of the shrine. 

October 28:  Iseyama Kotaijingu     伊勢山皇大神宮

Iseyama Kotaijingu came into existence in 1870. Japan had just been forced to open up to Western trade and along with Western ships came Christianity. Yokohama was one of the host ports and it was decided that the deity of Ise Jingu, Amaterasu Okami, would have to be ceremoniously installed in a shrine in Yokohama to counter the threat posed by Christianity. Hence Iseyama Kotaijingu. Something that happened around the turn of the century paints the shrine in a somewhat less than edifying light. Following a failed real estate venture it declared bankruptcy in 2002, the first shrine registered with the Association of Shinto Shrines to have done so since Meiji times.

October 10:   Fukishiro Inari Jinja   葺城稲荷神社

In 1691,  the townspeople of Fukidecho, what is now Toranomon 4-chome, found a small Inari Sha just outside the official Edo estate of Matsudaira Ukon, younger brother of the eleventh Tokugawa Shogun, Ienari. This became the current shrine. Relatively undamaged by the Great Kanto Earthquake and the 1945 firebombing. It was  completely rebuilt as part of the Tokyo World Gate project. Completed in March 2020 this is  a complete redevelopment of part of the Toranomon area.

October 1::   Atago Jinja           愛宕神社

Founded in 1603, this shrine is probably best known for its very steep “stone steps to success” staircase leading up from its main torii. In respone to an order from Tokugawa Iemitsu, Magaki Heikuro, a samurai from Shikoku, rode his horse up the staircase to collect some of the plum blossoms in full bloom in the shrine grounds. When he presented the blossoms to Iemitsu the latter immediately dubbed him  the greatest horseman in Japan, and the staircase received its name.

August 31:   Kadode Hachiman-Gu          首途八幡宮

In 1170 or so, after Minamoto Yoshistune had left Mt. Kurama, he fell in with Kaneuri Kichiji, a merchant who made a living trading gold  mined in Oshu in Kyoto who had been a good friend of his father, Yoshitomo. Kaneuri’s residence  was near Uchino Hachiman-Gu.  Minamoto planned travelling to Hiraizumi in Mutsu Province to meet Fujiwara no Hidehira and it is said that he prayed at the shrine for a safe journey. One of the meanings of Kadode is “departure” and Uchino Hachiman-Gu was thereafter known as Kadode Hachiman-Gu. In 1174 Yoshistune linked up with Fujiwara, who in 1181 became the Governor of Mutsu Province.

August 16:  Yasui Jinja    安居神社

In existence by 942 when Sugiwara Michizane began to be worshipped there: until then Sukunabi-kona had been the sole Kami. On June 3, 1615, during the Battle of Tennoji, Sanada Yukimura, the general  in charge of the Toyotomi forces, was killed in the grounds of the shrine and there is a statue and memorial to him. The founder of what is now the Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Store, Shimomura Hikoemon Shokei, became a regular worshipper at the shrine in the early seventeenth century.

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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                                                                                     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