Japan's Shrines and Deities
How many shrines in Japan?
at least 174,000
Number of shrines in database: 68,715
Number of shrines on webpage: 203
Please click image at top right to find out more about the book.
How many Kami in Japan?
proverbially eight million
but as they can be everywhere
and in everything
the number is incalculable
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.
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: 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.
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