Japan's Shrines & 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.”


                                      Latest shrine description:        Yoshida Jinja     Ibaraki-ken, Mito-shi

How many shrines in Japan?


at least 174,000

possibly 261,000

Number of shrines in database: 68,469

Number of shrines on webpage: 189

How many Kami in Japan?


proverbially eight million

but as they can be everywhere

and in everything

the number is incalculable

January 12: I have updated the Which Kami in Which Shrines? page. A total of 497 are enshrined at the 189 jinja described on this site, making the average kami per jinja 3.1.

Recent Additions

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.

August 4: Horikoshi Jinja   堀越神社

Along with Ōe Jinja, and Kobori Inari Jinja is one of  The Seven Shitennoji Miya. Was built In honour of Shōtoku Taishi’s uncle, the 32nd emperor, Sushun. There is a saying closely associated with the shrine, "The Kami of Horikoshi Jinja will grant you a lifetime wish once in your life.” 

July 26:   Kobore Inari Jinja   河堀稲生神社

One of the The Seven Shitennoji Miya. Its precursor may date to the reign of the semi-legendary 12th Emperor, Keiko (reigned 71–130). Founded as an Inari Jinja; when  Shōtoku Taishi had  Shitennoji Temple built in 593 a main hall was built at the shrine and Emperor Sushun was jointly enshrined.

July 15:   Kōzu-gū   高津宮

This shrine honours the memory of the 16th emperor, Nintoku (reigned 313-399), who designated the Naniwa area (current Ōsaka) as the imperial capital and gave it the name Kōzu-gū. The shrine itself was probably founded in 866. It has long been closely associated with the development of rakugo in Ōsaka and many famous performances have been given in its assembly/entertainment hall.

June 30:   Gojō-no-Miya   五条宮

This is the only jinja in the country where Emperor Bidatsu, the ancestor of the Tachibana family is enshrined. It was probably built in 593 along with the Shitennō-ji temple to serve as the spiritual guardian of the  temple’s two medical institutions. Reflecting this, its initial kami were the kami of medicine, Gojō Ōkami and Sukunahikone-no-Mikoto. 

June 17:  Ōe Jinja    大江神社

In Osaka-shi, Tennōji-ku, Said to be one of the Seven Tennōji no Miya, meaning that it  was founded in the late seventh century.  Three of the other Tennōji no Miya were merged into it in 1911/12.  The shrine grounds are  extensive,  almost 6,000 sq.m., and house 130 camphor and lotus/nettle  trees. It has been designated a forest conservation area by Ōsaka-shi.

June 3:  Sukuna-hikona  Jinja     少彦名神社

In Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku. Sukunahikona Jinja offers a very good example of the unity of the spiritual and commercial worlds. It was founded in the building of a trade organisation specialising in traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicines, and to this day the organisation continues to function under the aegis of the shrine. The two enshrined kami are Sukunabi-kona-no-kami and Shennong, respectively the founding fathers of traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicine.

May 25: Ikasuri Jinja 坐摩神社

In Osaka-shi, Chūō-ku. One of Osaka’s most important shrines. One theory traces its origin to an act of worship by Japan’s first legendary emperor, Jimmu, another to a similar act  by the semi-legendary Empress Jingu on returning from her Korean venture. Listed in Engi-shiki as one of two Ichi-no-Miya for Settsu Province. Moved to its current location between 1624 and 1644. Its in-ground shrine, Toki (Porcelain) Jinja is interesting in its own right and holds a potters' festival each July 22.




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

Notes: 1) Throughout this site the colour violet is associated with kami/gods, red with shrines/jinja

                                          2) For Japanese words in italics on this site the Japanese script equivalents can be found in the Vocabulary

© Rod Lucas 2016-2021

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated