"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”
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Nearest station: Sanyo Tarumi Line: Sanyo Electric Railway (SY11)
Hyogo-ken, Kobe-shi, Tarumi-ku Miyamoto-cho 5−1兵庫県神戸市垂水区宮本町5−1
From Merged Shrines
Sarutahiko Shrine 猿田彦社
Inari Shrine 稲荷社
Annual Festival: October 11
Divine Favours (御利益 Goriyaku)
While this shrine’s formal name is Watatsumi Jinja it is colloquially much better known as Umi Jinja. It was also known as Kai Jinja ("Umi" and "Kai" are both common readings for the character "海“ in the shrine's name). The name can also be written as 綿津見神社. Historically it was also known as Ama Jinja and Tarumi Jinja. From the early Edo Period the shrine had been known as Himukai Daijin-gu, but in 1871 it was given Kokuheisha ranking and its name changed to Watatsumi Jinja. This reading was based on the arguments of Motoori Nobunaga. In i1897 it was upgraded to Kanpeisha rank.
Along with Iwa Jinja in Shiso-shi and Ibonimasu-Amaterasu Jinja in Tatsuno-shi (粒坐天照神社) it is one of the Three Major Shrines of Harima Province. It is one of the nine shrines listed in the Akashi District of Harima Province in the Eng-Shiki.
Its origins share a commonality with those of Ikuta Jinja and Ikasura Jinja, that of Empress Jingū returning from the Three Han (三韓, Korea) campaign. Off the coast of Kobe the ship she was travelling in was beset by a heavy storm and was
unable to make any headway. She prayed to Watatsumi-Kami for help: divine aim was forthcoming, the storm died down, and the ship was able to proceed. A shrine was subsequently built to honour Watatsumi-Kami, who was worshipped as the Kami of maritime safety and a flourishing fishing industry.
The first written historical mention of the shrine was in 806 in the Shinshō kakaku chōfūshō which tells us that the shrine was granted half of the taxes paid by ten households.
After the middle ages the shrine was badly affected by warfare but in 1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi presented it with a forest in Tarumi district. In the Edo Period the shrine was highly revered by the rulers of the Akashi Domain and it became a practice for them to visit the shrine each February.
Until the post WWII period of rapid economic growth the main torii had stood on the beach but land reclamation in the 1960s resulted in it being moved to its present position on dry land in front of the fishing harbour.
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