"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”
Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku, Himonya 6-9-5東京都目黒区碑文谷6-9-5 October 14, 2022
Nearest station: Gakugei-daigaku Line: Toyoko (TY05)
From Merged Shrines
Although surrounded by trees and many other plants this shrine is not in a “preserved forest” area but sits on a small island in a lake, known as Himonya Lake or Benten Lake, in the midst of Himonya Park.
It is said to have been founded in the Warring States Period (1467-1615), when the lake was used for rice cultivation and irrigation water for what was then Himonya Village. The Kami of the shrine, Ichikishima-hime, was worshipped as the god of water and fire.
During the 250 years of the Edo Period the shrine supported by the Kamiya clan, direct retainers of the Tokugawa Shogunate. In September 1848, Kamiya
Masatsune, the tenth leader of the clan, donated a carving of Benzaiten to the shrine. It was placed in the main hall. In 2004 the shrine was destroyed by fire but the Benzaiten carving seems to have survived and is thought to have been moved to the nearby Himonya Hachiman-Gu; its actual location remains something of a mystery. Note that Ichikishima-hime and Benzaiten are often conflated, and that both are Godesses of water.
There is also some question about the legal status of the shrine. Himonya Park is administered by Meguro-ku, and as the latter is an arm of the state it is thought that the shrine’s location there may run foul of the Japanese Constitution’s separation of religious bodies and the state.
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