Legend has it that, as is the case with Shibuya Hikawa Jinja, this Ebisu Jinja was established sometime in the first or second century A.D. when the legendary Yamato Takeru was on his way from Yamato to what is now northern Honshu to subdue the Emishi. When he had reached what is now the Ebisu area he prayed to six of the Seven Generations of Celestial Kami (神世七代), and enshrined them in a jinja which came to be known as Amatsu Jinja (天津神社) and Dairokuten (第六天).
After leaving Ebisu Yamato Takeru was crossing Tōkyō.Bay when a sudden storm arose and the ship he and his party were in was unable to make any progress. His wife, Ototachibana-hime, volunteered to throw herself into the sea to placate the sea god and end the storm. She did, the storm died down, and Ototachibana bid farewell to this (semi) mortal realm. Passing through what is now Kantō on his way back from the north, Yamato Takeru is said to
(Note: numbers in parentheses after kami names
Kuni-no-tokotachi-mikoto (6) 国常立尊
From Merged Shrines
have lamented Ototachibana by thrice uttering the word “Azuma” (あづま). This is a homophone which can mean both “wife (吾妻)” and “east (東),” and, in this account, the name Kantō (関東) may be derived from the latter. It was after this that the shrine came to be known as Amatsu Jinja and Dairokuten. Its shintai is a hexagonal stone pillar on each surface of which the names of the six kami are inscribed.
In 1954 new planning regulations saw the shrine moved from its location near Ebisu Station to its current site. Along with this the kami of the Nishinomiya Jinja in Hyōgo-ken, Kotoshiro-nushi-mikoto (事代主命), with whom Ebisu is sometimes identified, was enshrined through the kanjō process and the shrine was formally named as Ebisu Jinja.
About two minutes on foot from Ebisu Subway Station, five minutes from the JR station. It is quite a small shrine and its location--it is set in what is essentially an oval-shaped roundabout measuring 27m x 18m--is putting aside the sshrine legend, arguably its most interesting aspect.