"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”
Ibaraki-ken, Mito-shi, Miyauchi chō 3193-2
4 January 2021
Jōban, Suigun, Ōarai Kashima Lines
Yamato Takeru-no-Mikoto 日本武尊
From Merged Shrines
Kokumi Jinja 国見神社
Hayatoshi Jinja 早歳神社
Ii Jinja 飯神社
Mito Jinja 水戸神社
Inari Jinja 稲荷神社
Sumitomo Jinja 住吉神社
Yoshida Jinja 吉田天満宮
Matsuo Jinja 松尾神社
Kotoshiriushi Jinja 大国主事代主神社
Taga Jinja 多賀神社
Doshi Jinja 土師神社
Kōtai Jingū 皇大神宮
Toyōkōtai Jingū 豊受皇大神宮
Hōsōshugo Jinja 疱瘡守護神社
Annual Festival: Mid-October
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).
While passing through Hitachi Province on their return from subjugating the Emishi people in the north of Japan, the troops led by Yamato-Takeru bivouacked at a place called Asahi-yama and built a shrine to honour their commander. This is the origin of this Yoshida Jinja.
Just when the shrine was founded is unclear, but according to a document dating to 1301 in its possession the shrine had been in existence for over 800 years at that time, and based on this it is thought to have been founded sometime between 485 and 498.
In 1193 the main hall was rebuilt on the instructions of the provincial governor and the ceremony attendant on this, the Sengū-shiki ( 遷宮式) was held in December of that year. This Sengū-shiki later became the model for the one held by Kashima Jingū. In 1261 the shrine’s ranking was raised from Junior First Rank (従一位) to Highest Rank (正一位) .Jumping forward over three centuries to 1570, the Lord of Mito Castle, Edo Shigemichi, presented his long sword to the shrine as part of his coming-of-age ceremony.
(Click on images to expand them)
Six years later, Prince Masahito, son of the Emperor Ōgimachi, presented the then chief priest of the shrine, Tadokoro Kyotsune (?) with a hengaku (the framed plaque showing the name of the shrine hung in front of the prayer hall) on which he had inscribed “第三宮”. In 1648 the third Tokugawa Shōgun, Iemitsu, presented the shrine with a trading license worth 15 koku (one koku is the amount of rice consumed by one person) per year.
The first Tokugawa lord of Hitachi Province, Yorifusa, and his son, Mitsukuni, were particularly devoted to the memory of Yamato-Takeru and in 1666 greatly expanded the shrine, including sponsoring Yaotome (八乙女, lit. eight females aged between 17 and 20) and Kagura-otoko gonin (神楽男五人, lit. kagura five men) to participate in sacred music and dancing activities. In 1844 the then governor of the Mito Domain, Tokugawa Nariaki, donated land yielding 100 koku to the shrine. In 1873 Kensha (Prefectural Shrine) ranking was bestowed. The shrine was completely destroyed in the 1945 fire bombings and although the main hall was rebuilt by 1948 reconstruction of the entire shrine has not yet been completed.