Sakai Masachika 酒井正親命
Succeeding generations of the Sakai Clan
Outside Subordinate Shrines:
Iwakura Inari Jinja 岩倉稲荷神社
Sunno Shrine 寸翁神社
Divine Favours (御利益 Goriyaku)
Protection of the area (地域守護, Chiiki Shugo)
Himeji Jinja is situated in Himeyama Park inside Himeji Castle, the largest castle in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The shrine protects the castle against the inauspicious elements said to emanate from the northeast direction (“kimon”鬼門).
The shrine’s main kami is a human being (“jinbutsu-kami”) by the name of Sakai Masachika. The Sakai clan ruled Himeji Province for 120 years until the abolition of the feudal domains and the latter's replacement with prefectures in 1871. This caused the clan to move to the newly established capital of Tokyo.
In January 1897 former Sakai clan vassals built a jinja to honour the clan’s memory in Himeji-honmachi 51,52,53 and enshrined Sakai Masachika as the main deity. He was a descendant of the clan’s possible forefather, Nitta Yoshisada. In 1884 the shrine was given Prefectural shrine ranking.
The shrine’s site in Himeji-honmachi was quite small and was surrounded by houses. In November 1925 the clan was able to buy a 6,500 sq.m. site inside the Himeji Castle grounds from the Ministry of Finance and the shrine was moved to this site, Himeji-honmachi 83, in June 1927.
I must confess to some confusion here. I did not prepare properly for my visit to this shrine and was surprised to find that it seems to share its grounds with Hyogo-ken Gokoku Jinja. This latter will be my next post.
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