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Home » 6. Belief and Practice » Shrines and Cultic Practices
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 [Ōsaka] checkpoint (seki) is the kami of the battlefield, Ichibon Chūsan (Kibitsu Shrine) and Itsukushima in Aki" After becoming governor of Aki (Aki no kami) in 1146, Taira no Kiyomori (1118~1181) often visited the shrine. Upon Kiyomori's recommendation, Goshirakawa-in and Kenshunmon-in visited the shrine in the third month of 1174, and Takakura Jōkō visited twice. At the end of the Heian Period Itsukushima was worshipped by the entire Heike clan, and in 1168 the shrine's shaden structure was restored and expanded. This connection to the Heike clan may have originated in the trade and shipping in the Inland Sea that had flourished since the days of Taira no Tadamori (Kiyomori's father). Due to Heike devotion, the Heike Nōkyō scrolls (a National Treasure) were originally donated to the shrine in 1164. In the medieval period Itsukushima was supported by the Ōuchi and Mōri clans, and the Shingon temple Suishōji became the shrine's administrative temple. Also a legend began that Kūkai founded (kaisan) the temple Misen. The "original Buddhist deity" (honji) of Itsukushima was believed to be the Eleven-faced Kannon (Ekadasamukha Avalokitesvara) or Mahâvairocana. Among commoners, a cult of Ebisu-gami developed, and Itsukushima was also worshipped by fishermen and merchants.

— Satō Masato
Itsukushima Jinja, auxiliary shrine to Katsushika Hachimangū.

Chiba Prefecture, 2007

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