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Shrines and Cultic Practices


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§Shamei Bunpu (Shrine Names and Distributions)

Certain shrines are worshipped throughout the country while others are distributed exclusively in certain regions. Okada Yoneo's 1976 quantitative analysis of well-known shrines and their bunsha (emanation or branch shrines) in Zenkoku chomei jinja annaiki clearly indicates that the distribution of...

Akiha Shinkō

Akiha shinkō originated at the shrine Akihasan Hongū Akiha Jinja in Shūchigun, Shizuoka Prefecture and is known as a fire protection cult. It is thought that Shugendō practitioners were already spreading the faith in the medieval period. In 1685 during the Edo Period, the "mikos...

Atago Shinkō

This is the cult that originated at the shrine Atago Jinja on the peak of Atago Mountain in Kyōto. Ascetic practitioners have been using the mountain since ancient times. During the Heian Period Atago was counted among the "seven high mountains" (shichi kōsan) of the Kinki region. Courts ...

Atsuta Shinkō

The cult of the shrine Atsuta Jingū and its approximately 2000 "emanation shrines" (bunsha) spread widely throughout the country, but worshippers are especially numerous in the Tōkai region. The tradition that the Kusanagi sacred sword, one of the "the three sacred treasures of the imperi...

Awashima Shinkō

Devotion to the Awashima kami based on beliefs about the kami's efficacy in curing female ailments, helping to conceive children, and ensuring safe childbirth. Kada Jinja, the head shrine among the Awashima shrines throughout the country, is in Wakayama Prefecture's Kaisōgun county, and is a o...

Fuji/Sengen Shinkō

The cult of Mount Fuji/Mount Sengen. The old reading of the characters is asama. (they can also be read sengen). One theory as to why Mount Fuji was called Asama is based on the fact that the words "asa" and "aso" mean a volcano or a volcanic eruption, but there is still no generally accepted ...

Gion/Tsushima Shinkō

This faith takes Gozutennō and Susanoo as "enshrined deities" (saijin). The kami Gozutennō is a conflation of the Indian guardian deity of Gion Shōja (Jetavanavihāra monasteries) and Chinese Onmyōdō, which was further combined with Susanoo in Japan. Whilst the cult of ...

Hachiman Shinkō

The faith of Hachiman began at Usa Hachimangū and the location of this shrine and five other Hachiman shrines (gosho betsugū) in the Kyūshū area (the five shrines are Chikuzen's Daibu Hachiman, Hizen's Chiriku Hachiman, Higo's Fujisaki Hachiman, Satsuma's Nitta Jinja, and Ō...

Hakusan Shinkō

Hakusan is the collective name given to the three mountains Gozenpō, Ōnanjimine, and Bessan located at the intersection of the regions Kaga, Echizen, and Mino. Hakusan shinkō is the faith based on the deification of these mountains. Local farmers believed that Hakusan was a mountain ...

Inari Shinkō

The cult connected to the kami Inari and Inari's retinue. In addition to its relationship to food or agriculture, Inari faith takes a variety of other forms including "estate kami" (yashikigami) and others. Inari faith is widespread and shrines devoted to Inari number more than 30,000, but if one a...

Ise Shinkō

Because Amaterasu ōmikami, the principal kami (saijin) at Ise Jingū, is considered an ancestral kami of the imperial house, Ise Shrine is the location of imperial devotion. Moreover, since ancient times it has attracted widespread popular faith as a sacred site. Personal offerings to Amat...

Itsukushima Shinkō

Due to belief in the "Three Female Kami" (sanjoshin) of Munakata at Itsukushima Jinja, the Itsukushima kami was worshipped as a protector of fishermen and boats. Itsukushima is also known as a "military kami" (gunshin), as seen in this passage from the Ryōjin hishō: "To the west of the [&...

Izumo Shinkō

Izumo Shinkō is the faith centered around the shrine Izumo Taisha in Taishamachi, Shimane Prefecture. The "enshrined kami" (saijin) Ōkuninushi has many variant names or titles modifying those names, and from these we know that he was worshipped as, among other things, an earth kami, as th...

Kashima Shinkō

It is possible to think of Kashima faith as the sect based at Kashima Jingū in Kashima-machi, Ibaraki Prefecture, but it can broadly be divided into beliefs related to water, "tutelary of roads" (sae no kami), and Kashima shrines. Many regions and shrines bear the name "Kashima," and since the...

Kasuga Shinkō

Kasuga Taisha is a shrine in the foothills of Kasuga Mikasa Mountain in which the Fujiwara "clan kami" (ūjigami) have been "established" (kanjō), the "enshrined kami" (saijin) of Kashima, Katori, and Hiraoka. Since the shrine's founding, due to the Fujiwara clan's position as the maternal...

Konpira Shinkō

This is the faith concerning the shrine Konpira Jinja. As well as being a guardian kami of seafarers and fishermen, Konpira is believed to be a "thunder kami" (raijin), a water kami (suijin), an agricultural kami (nōkōjin), and a guardian kami who keeps watch while other kami are away (ru...

Kumano Shinkō

The cult that worships Kishū's "Three Mountains of Kumano" (Kumano sanzan): Hongū, Shingū, and Nachi. The Nihonshoki relates that Izanagi is buried at Hana no iwaya in Kumano's Arima Village, indicating that belief in the Kumano region's mystical connections to the spiritual world (t...

Momodayū/Shiradayū Shinkō

Momodayū is also called Hyakudayū. The name Momodayū appears as the kami worshipped by courtesans (yūjo) of Eguchi and Kanzaki in Ōe no Masafusa's Yujoki, and Masafusa also wrote in his Kairaishiki that Kugutsu worshipped "the hundred kami" (hyakushin). The Ryōjin hish...

Munakata Shinkō

The faith related to Munakata Jinja, The faith has elements of guarding the nation and protecting the imperial house, as well as safety at sea and ensuring fishermen a bountiful catch. Munakata can also be written with the characters or . The Jinmyōchō section of the Engishiki re...

Sannō Shinkō

The cult that began at Hiyoshi Taisha (Hiesha) at the foot of Mount Hiei. Originally, Sannō was the "mountain kami" (yama no kami) of Mount Hiei, but came to be worshipped as the protective kami of the Tendai (Chi. T'ient'ai) sect and of the temple Enryakuji. After the mid-Heian Period, when t...



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