Nearest station

Kitasenju

JR Joban, Subway Chiyoda & Hibiya Lines

東京都足立区千住元町33-4

Tōkyō-to, Adachi-ku, Senju Motomachi 33-4

元宿神社

   Motojuku Jinja

Home page: None

September 10, 2017

 

History

It is likely that there was already a settlement in this area by the Kamakura Period.  Around 1487 the person who is considered to be the ancestor of the Motojuku Jinja, Suzuki Sadamune (鈴木貞宗) went to live in Kōfu at the behest of a member of the Takeda clan.  His son, Kurando (蔵人) took up residence in Motojuku in 1526, and it is said that Kurando’s son, Saemonjō (左衛門尉) performed meritoriously for Tokugawa Ieyasu in two battles of the Sekigahara campaign. In 1573 Saemonjō began to bring land in Motojuku and Kawada under cultivation and in August of the following year he built a small Hachiman shrine, followed by an Inari shrine in September. These two shrines remained separate entities until the enactment of the Shrine Merger Order in the early years of the twentieth century. Under the provisions of this order the Motojuku Hachiman Jinja was merged into the Hikawa Jinja in Senju 4-chome in 1909 and in 1910 the same thing happened to the Inari Jinja, but as a result of the Arakawa Drainage Project. In 1930 the Inari Jinja was separated from the Hikawa Jinja and merged into the

Enshrined Kami:  

Main

(Note: numbers in parentheses after kami names

refer to position in How Many Kami table)

Hondawake-no-mikoto                  誉田別命

Ukanomitama-kami                       宇迦能御魂神

 

From Merged Shrines

In-ground Shrines: 

Earliest mention of:   1573

Annual Festival:    

Hachiman JInja. The resultant shrine became the tutelary jinja of the Motojuku area, and in 1931, when Motojuku itself was renamed Motomachi, the jinja's name remained Motojuku in order to preserve the old name.

Description

About 1.6-1.7 km on foot from Kitasenju Station. Hemmed in as it is by high rise and other buildings, it is difficult to get an unobstructed view of the shrine overall. As with the Naka-chō and Ōikawa-chō Hikawa shrines, Motojuku Jinja is on the Senju Shichifukujin circuit, it houses Jurōjin, the kami of longevity, whose statue was moved to the shrine from a nearby temple, Genchō-ji, in 2008. The phrase on the left of his name board, ぼけ封じ, "bokefūji", has strong buddhist connotations. Roughly translated it means the warding off of senility and is most commonly found in the expression "Bokefūji Kantō sanjūsan Kannon Reijō" (ぼけ封じ関東三十三観音霊場, The 33 places sacred to Kannon in Kantō). Kannon is the Buddhist Goddess of Compassion, in Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara.

There are, however, two more direct Buddhist presences in the shrine. One is a Daishidō (a hall with an enshrined statue of Kobo Daishi, usually at a Shingon-sect temple). This particular enshrined statue may well have first graced the Tamonji Temple in nearby Sumida-ku when it was ceremonially opened in 1912 before finding its way to its current location in 1925 and is the fifth stop on the Kōryō Hachijūhachi Reijō (荒綾八十八ヶ所霊場, the eighty-eight places sacred to Kobo Daishi) circuit. The other is a statue of Hachiman Daibosatsu, this is another way Hachiman Ōkami was often referred to during the Shinbutsu Shugo period. Suzuki Sadamune or another member of his family is said to have carried the statue around the battlefields of Shinano Province entreating the assembled kami for victory.                      

(Click on images to expand them)

 Jurōjin 寿老人
Jurōjin 寿老人
Jurōjin 寿老人
八幡大菩薩 Hachiman Daibosatsu
荒綾八十八ヶ所霊場
三峯神社
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© Rod Lucas 2016-2019

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated