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Japan's Shrines and Deities

​日本の神社と神々

Sacred Tokyo 40 Shinto Shrines

Latest Shrine Description:

Tokyo-to, Adachi-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。

There are now well over 200 shrines described on this website. Maintaining it is an ongoing labour of love—there is virtually no 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: 69,029

Number of shrines on webpage: 218

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

August 14::  Inari Jinja (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 Jinja   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 Jinja    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.

June 30:  Shirahata Jinja 白旗神社

The main Kami enshrined in this Shirahata Jinja is Minamoto Yoshitsune. He commanded the  military forces of the Minamoto Clan during the Genpei War (1180-1185) in which the Minamoto defeated the Taira Clan. Shirahata means "white flag" : the Minamoto flag was white, the Taira's red.

June 20:  Sanno Hiei Jinja 山王日枝神社

This shrine is an offshoot of Hiyoshi Taisha situated on Lake Biwa. The “Sanno” in both its name and that of the district in which it is located derive from the ceremonial transfer of the spirit of the Sanno Gongen deity from Hiyoshi Taisha.

June 8: Kashima Jinja 鹿嶋神社

Founded in 969 through the enshrinement of the Kami of Kashima Jingu of Hitachi Province (essentially the current Ibaragi-ken). Along with Hikawa Jinja in Shibuya and Hachiman-Gu in Setagaya this is one of the Three Edo Sumo Jinja. In 1988 was designated as one of the “One Hundred Scenic Spots in Shinagawa”.

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.

 

 

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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