Kumano Ōkami 熊野大神
From Merged Shrines
This is the seventeenth of my ex post facto shrine reports, and it has become one of sentimental interest to me; I visited it in 2004 with my late wife, Mitsuko (she is the young lady seen cavorting in the sacred grounds in three of the photos.) It lies a little to the north of the Bessho hot spring in Ueda, Nagano.
It is said that the shrine was founded as an offshoot of the Kumano Hongū Taisha through the bunri process, possibly in the last decade of the twelfth century, and was originally called Kumano-sha. It moved to its present location in 1682 and took its present name in 1878.
The shrine’s main hall, constructed in 1788, was designated a tangible cultural asset by Ueda-shi in 1994. It was designed and built by one Sueno Shōbei Yasusada: the Sueno family was one of the leading builders of shrines and temples in the region.
Note that the name on the Shingaku (神額, the plaque showing the shrine’s name on the torii), shown on the right, reads Honchō-enmusubi-Ōkami本朝縁結大神, lit. the Great God of Marriage of this Land, indicating that the shrine has traditionally been associated with the tying of the nuptial knot.