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February 3, 2017
The shrine's origin is unclear but the Shinagawa Tourism Association says it was built during the Keichō period.
There is a close connection between the main deity of Yoriki Jinja, Yamato Takeru, and the deity of one of its subsidiary shrines, Ototachibana-hime. The Kojiki describes the latter as his wife, she was more probably a concubine. When Yamato Takeru was sent to subdue the Emishi she ensured the success of the mission by sacrificing her own life to appease a furious storm god. A small piece of the ship involved in this incident was washed ashore and became an object of worship (shintai) at the shrine.
Another legend of the shrine is to do with Minamoto Yoshiie, who, on his way to do battle with Fujiwara Yasuhira of the Northern Fujiwara in Tōhoku in 1189, paid a visit to the shrine. Local fishermen recounted its history to him and he was impressed enough to make an offering and pray for victory in his forthcoming combat. Returning from what turned out to be a victorious campaign he again called at the shrine and dedicated his war helmet (kabuto) to it. The area around the shrine was thereafter known as Kabuto Island.
日本武尊 Yamato Takeru (186E)
From Merged Shrines
西宮大神 Nishinomiya-Ōkami (?)
少名彦名尊 Sukuna-hiko-na-mikoto (101)
稲荷神社 Inari Jinja
Earliest mention of: ??
Annual Festival: June
Reality is a little more prosaic. At that time, the 12th Century, it is doubtful if there were more than a handful of scattered fishermen living in the area, which was indeed called Kabuto Island, and it seems unlikely that the shrine existed at that time. It was not until the beginning of the Edo Period in 1603 that the southern Shinagawa area, which included Kabuto Island, began to emerge as a fishing town
The shrine is about 300 metres away from Ebara Jinja, to which it is subordinate. It is quite small and has no torii fronting onto the street. What it does have are three pairs of Koma-inu, of which the two relatively featureless ones shown centre below deserve a mention. Again according to legend this pair served as lighthouses to boats and ships plying the nearby sea. As can be seen in the photos, particularly the one to the right of centre, there are slight indentations in the head. These were apparently designed to accommodate candles which, when lit, would be visible to those in the vessels at sea. Eyesight in those days must have been much more acute than it is now...