Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 6-21-1

東京都新宿区新宿6-21-1

西向天神社

  Nishimuki Ten Jinsha

 

Home page: none

May 18, 2019

Nearest station

Higashishinjuku

  Fukutoshin & Ōedo Subway Lines

History

The shrine legend tells us that it was founded in 1228 by a Kyōto-based Buddhist monk, Myōe: the kami of the Kyōto Tenman-Gū, Sugawara Michizane, was enshrined through the kanjō process. Myōe was convinced that branches of the Godaison temples should be established in eastern Japan. To this end he went to Kantō, taking with him one or more statues of Sugawara Michizane. When finding himself is what was then Higashi-Ōkubo he built a small shrine, which in due course became the Nishimuki Ten Jinja. The shrine was built on the western side of a small hill, “Nishimuki” means “facing west” and there is a theory that it was so positioned in order to be facing in the direction of Dazaifu, where Sugawara's main shrine is..​Sometime during the Tensei Period (1573~1593), a crown prince,

Enshrined Kami:  

Main

(Note: numbers in parentheses after kami names

refer to position in How Many Kami table)

Sugawara no Michizane   菅原道真

 

From Merged Shrines

Inari Ōkami                        稲荷大神

Itsukushima Ōkami           厳島大神 

Akiba Ōkami                       秋葉大神

In-ground Shrines:

Fujizuka    富士塚    

 

​Annual Festival:  May 25  

西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社

Dōkō-hosshinnō (道晃法親王), the 11th or 13th son, it is not clear which, of the 107th Emperor Go-Yōzei was in the area and seeing that the shrine had been burnt down ordered a high-ranking monk, Genshin, to have it rebuilt.

In the first half of the seventeenth century the shrine became known as Natsume Tenjin (棗天神). Sometime during the Kan'ei Period (1624~1645) the third Tokugawa Shōgun, Iemitsu, was in the area on a falconry outing and when he saw how dilapidated the shrine was he presented it with a gold natsume (棗, a container used in the tea ceremony). Apparently this was valuable enough that it was sold and the proceeds used to rebuild the shrine. In 1842 a Fujizuka was raised. It was pulled down once but raised again in 1925. In 1872 the shrine was designated a village shrine and in 1874 its name was changed to Kitano Jinja. In 1901 the name was formally changed to Nishimuki Tenjin to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Sugawara Michizane's death in 903.

Description

Three minutes' walk from Higashi Shinjuku Station. Not a great deal to see in this shrine. There are two pairs of koma-inu in the shrine grounds,one at the top of the sando, the other in front of the prayer hall. The former dates to 1846, the latter to 1762.

In one corner of the shrine there is a stone monument engraved with a song ( “kahi”, 歌碑, the engraving is usually a waka, but in this case it is a pop song. The song in question is “Shinjuku no onna”, (a Shinjuku Girl, 新宿の女), the singer was Fuji Keiko (藤圭子). It was her debut song, it was released in September 1969, and she apparently kicked off her sales campaign for the song at the shrine.

(Click on images to expand them)

西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
西向天神社 Nishimuki Ten Jinja
Nishimuki Ten Jinja 西向天神社
 
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© Rod Lucas 2016-2019

All text and photos by Lucas unless otherwise stated