Asakusa and Keikyu Lines
Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Takanawa 2-14-18
Home page: (Japanese) none
May 29, 2018
From Merged Shrines
Takanawa Taishi-Gū 高輪太子宮
Annual Festival: September 10
The shrine legend has it that it was founded as an Inari Jinja sometime in the Meiō Period (1492-1501). In the Edo Meisho Zue published in 1834 the shrine is shown facing east overlooking the Tōkaidō and Tōkyō Bay, and in addition to the torii and koma-inu the Kōshin-Dō and Taishi-Dō flanking the main hall are depicted. The Taishi-Dō was erected sometime during the Meireki Period (1665-1668) and enshrined a wooden image of Shōtoku Taishi said to have been carved by Shōtoku himself when he was 16.
At the time of the shrine’s foundation Takanawa as a place name did not exist. In
1524 Hōjō Ujitsuna seized Edo Castle from Uesugi Tomooki (上杉 朝興) in the Siege of Edo, also known as The Battle of Takawanahara ( 高縄原), and it is from this latter expression that the current Takanawa name derives. The second of the three kanji, 縄, was in time replaced by 輪, and the shrine became known as Takanawa Inari.
In 1845 the shrine was largely destroyed by fire with only those items made of stone—the entrance gate, the torii, erected in 1667, and the pair of koma-inu, dating to 1709—left standing. The Kōshin-Dō no longer exists. The deity enshrined there was Shōmenkongō, but following the enactment of the Shinbutsu Bunri in 1868 he was replaced by Sarutahiko-kami and merged into the haiden. The Taishi-Dō was renamed Jichō Jinja (耳聴神社), and remained as an in-ground shrine. The shrine itself was designated as a Village shrine and retained the Inari JInja name. In 1877 it was merged with a Hachiman Jinja located in what is now Takanawa 3-chōme and in 1929 its name was changed to Takanawa Jinja. The current main hall dates from 1980.
The intricately carved koma-inu in the grounds of the the Taishi-Gū, which is much more imposing than the typical in-ground shrine, are visually Takanawa Jinja's most interesting aspect. The collection of chikara-ishi ("strength stones) is unusual, and while the statues of Ebisu and Daikokuten might seem out of place they nevertheless add to the ambience.