Prefectures/Shrines


Aichi-ken gokoku jinja
Akama jingu
Akiba-san hongu akiba jinja
Aso Jinja
Atsuta jingu
Bekku
Bekkaku-kampei-sha
Beppyo-jinja
Bofu tenman-gu
Bunsha
Chokusai-sha
Dazaifu Tenman-gu
Fuji-san Hongu sengen Jinja
Fuji sengen jinja
Fushimi Inari taisha
Futami okitami jinja
Futara-san jinja
Gokoku jinja
Go’o jinja
Gu
Hachiman shrines
Haiden
Harae-do
Heian Jingu
Heiden
Hie jinja
Hie taisha
Himoragi
Hirano jinja
Hiraoka jinja
Hokoku jinja
Hokora
Honden
Hongu
Ichi-no-miya
Imamiya Ebisu jinja
Ise Jingu
Isonokami Jingu
Itsukushima jinja
Iwaki-san jinja
Iwashimizu Hachiman gu
Iwai-den
Izumo taisha
Jingu
Jinguji
Jisha
Jishu jinja
Kamo jinja
Kampeisha
Kansha
Kashiko-dokoro
Kashima jingu
Kasuga taisha
Katori jingu
Keidaichi
Kibitsu jinja
Kitano tenman gu
Kobe Nishinomiya jinja
Kokuheisha
Korei-den
Kotai jingu
Kumano Nachi taisha
Kyuchu sanden
Massha
Matsuno-o taisha
Meiji jingu
Minatogawa jinja
Nagata Jinja
Nijuni Jinja
Nikko Toshogu
Nishinomiya ebisu jinja
Nogi jinja
Okumiya
Osaka tenman-gu
Osaka gokkoku jinja
O-tabisho
Saikan
Sando
Saniwa
Sanja
Sapporo Jinja
Sato-miya
Sessha
Sha
Shaden
Sha-go
Sha-musho
Shiki-nai-sha
Shiden
Shin’en
Shinkai
Shigama jinja
Shokonsha
Shosha
Soreisha
Switen-gu
Sumiyo shi taisha
Taiwan jinja
Tama-ya
Tanritsu jinja
Tsuruga oka Hachimangu
Waka-miya
Wakamiya jinja
Yama-miya
Yasaka jinja
Yashikigami
Yasukuni Jinja
Yohai-jo
Yoshida jinja
Yoshino jingu
Yutoku Inari jinja

Aichi-ken gokoku jinja-the gokoku of Aichi prefecture. An example of a prefectural gokoku or “nation protecting” shrine. It houses the deified spirits of the war-dead of Aichi.

Akama Jingu-a shrine in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi which enshrines emperor Antoku (1178-1185) whose sentei-sai or previous emperor matsuri instituted by Antoku’s successor, Gotoba, takes place on April 23rd-25th. Antoku was emperor from 1180 to 1185 when he drowned near the site of the shrine during the naval battle of Dan-no-ura, in which the Taira were finally defeated by the Minamoto or Genji clan. Antoku was eight when he died and the toys he played with have been preserved at the Itsukushima jinja, the Taira (Heike) family shrine. The Akama jingu was completely destroyed by bombing in the second war world and has been rebuilt with a gate (suiten-mon) in the ryugu or “dragon palace” style, a reference to the watery manner of Antoku’s death.

Akiba-san gongu akiba jinja-a shrine at Mt. Akiba in Shizuoka said to have been founded in 709 AD. The kami of fire, known here by the name of hi-no-kagu-tsuchi-no-kami is worshipped for protection from fire. Hi-no-mai (fire dances) are performed at the shrine on December 16th by priests whirling flaming torches.

Aso Jinja-a shrine at the foot of the volcanic Mt. Aso, Kumamoto, housing three kami (the deified son and two grandsons of emperor Jimmu) in separate honden. The Yao-Yorozu-no-kami are also enshrines collectively in the shrine. The rice-transplanting festival (mi-ta-ue) is held on July 28th. Each year a statue of hime-miko-no-kami is carved from a tree, kept in the honden with her husband, the third kami kuni-tatsu-no-kami, and for six successive days taken away silently at night to the house of one of the hereditary priests where offerings are made. There is an oku-miya of the shrine at the summit of Mt. Aso.

Atsuta jingu-a major chokusai-sha shrine in Nagoya, now a days popular for hatsu-mode visits. Among the enshrined kami is the sacred sword, ame-no-muraku-mono-tsurugi, or kusanagi no tsurugi, one of the three imperial regalia (sanshu no shinki). The shrine was originally built in taisha-zukuri style but last rebuilt in 1935 in shinmei style.

Bekku-(also betsugu). A “subsidiary” shrine within or near to a main worship hall (honden). The deity of the bekku is not necessarily less important than the “main” deity.

Bekkaku-kampei-sha-“special-rank governmental shrine.” A category established in 1872 which eventually comprised 27 existing and newly-built shrines dedicated to famous loyalists and military heroes. Examples include the Uesugi jinja, built in 1871 and made a bekkaku in 1902, dedicated to Terutora, Uesugi, the Hokoku jinja (1873) enshrining Toyotomi, Hideyoshi, the Nikko toshigu (classified as a bekkaku shrine in 1873) which enshrines Tokugawa, Hideyoshi and the Minatogawa-jinja (1872) in Kobe enshrining, at the spot where he died in battle in 1336, Kusunoki, Masahige, the faithful champion of emperor Daigo. The Yasukuni junja came in the same category but was dedicated to all fallen Meiji loyalists and the war-dead of subsequent national wars, rather than to one hero.

Beppyo-jinja-“shrines on the special list.” It refers to the postwar list maintained by Jinja Honcho which gives privileged status to about 250 former national or state shrines and other large shrines.

Bofu tenman-gu-a shrine in Bofu city, Yamaguchi, which enshrines Sugawara Michizane. Originally founded in 904 it was last rebuilt in 1958. the main processional festival (shinko-sai) featuring thousands of white-clad participants take place on October 15-16th of the lunar calendar.

Bunsha-branch shrine. Subsidiary shrine. A shrine established in dependent and tributary relationship to a main or original shrine. Branch shrines might be established because a clan migrated with its tutelary deity, or devotees of a particular shrine moved to a new area, or a landholding was dedicated to the deity of a main shrine. A branch shrine is normally established by introducing a bun-rei “part-spirit” or “divided spirit” of the primary kami into the new shrine. Major shrines with priestly lineages such as those of Inari, Tenjin, Kasuga, Kompira, Munakata, Suwa, Izumo and Hachiman have networks of sometimes thousands of branch shrines developed over hundred of years. Bunsha is the form of massha, etc. are also included within the precincts of most shrines.

Chokusai-sha-imperial-festival shrines. The name given to 15 prestigious shrines which are entitled to receive visits from imperial messengers (choku-sai) at festivals which are therefore classified as choku-sai. The shrines are Ise Jingu, Kamo-wake-ikazchi-jinja, Kamo-mi-oya-jinja, Iwashimizu-hachiman-gu, Kasuga taisha, Hikawa-jinja, Atsuta-jinja, Izumo taisha, Kashiwara-jinja, Meiji-jingu, Katori-jingu, Omi-jingu, Kashima-jingu, Yasukuni-jinja, Usa Hachiman’gu and Kashii-gu. In the postwar period these visits are actually carried out by the president (tori) of the Jinja Honcho in place of the imperial messenger.

Dazaifu Tenman-gu-the shrine at Dazaifu, Kyushi, established in 905 two years after his death for the spirit of Sugawara Michizane. A form of exorcism of demons called oni-sube is performed there on January 7th in which demons are escorted from the shrine.

Fuji-san Hongu sengen Jinja-a shrine in Shizuoka prefecture located at the foot of Mt. Fuji. It is the main shrine for the mountain and has an exceptional two-storied building which enshrines kono-hana-sakuga-hime, the kami of the mountain.

Fuji sengen jinja-the inner sanctuary (oku-miya) at the top of Mt. Fuji, dedicated to Kono-hana-sakuya-hime or sengen. The temple has around 1500 bunsha throughout Japan and there are numerous sengen temples located around Mt. Fuji. Sengen is the traditional name of the deity of Fuji.

Fushimi Inari taisha-located in Kyoto and said to have been founded in 711, Fushimi Inari taisha is the mother shrine of thousands of branch Fushimi Inari jinja. It is dedicated to the kami of rice or business (i.e. Inari) who is identified at Fushimi and in many other shrines with the food kami Uga-(or Uka-)no-mitama-no-kami, a deity mentioned in the Kojiki as a son of Susa-no-o and in the Nihongi as a son of Izanagi and Izanami, though Inari may also be represented as female. Inari is popularly identified with the messenger fox (o-kitsure-san), statues of whom can be seen at most Inari temples. The Inari-matsuri held at the shrine in April involves visits by the deity in various otabisha over 21 days. Fushimi Inari is one of the great shrines which these days attract enormous crowds at New Year for hatsumode and the shrine is highly regarded throughout the year by business people, particularly those in the financial sector. Many companies send staff representatives to visit the shrine or they receive visits from shrine priests to company premises to pray for prosperity. So many forms have donated red torii to the shrine as votive offerings that the walkways within the shrine precincts are virtually torii-tunnels.

Futami okitami jinja-a shrine sited on the coast near the Ise jingu, often visited as well as Ise. A well-known feature is the great Shimenawa strung between a large and small rock (the fu-fu or meoto-iwa rocks) in the area which are sometimes identified as marking the site of the cave into which Amaterasu withdrew, and through which worshippers revere the rising sun.

Futara-san jinja-an important shrine in Tochigi prefecture dedicated to the sacred Mt. Futara. It’s main festival is the yayoi matsuri on April 17th which features mikoshi, floats made by the Ujiko, and the performance of plays.

Gokoku jinja-“nation-protecting shrine.” The name originally given to provincial branch shrines of the Yasukuni Jinja dedicated in the Meiji period to the enshrined spirits of the war dead. After the Russo-Japanese war (1904-6) gokoku jinja war memorial shrines were built in each prefecture. In 1945 under the Shinto Directive the shrines lost state school grounds, etc. were destroyed. There has been a number of legal cases in the post-war period fought over the use of local taxes to support gokoku jinja, and over the issue of local government officials and jietai (self-defense force) members taking part in shrine ceremonies at gokoku jinja in honor of the war dead.

Go’o jinja-a shrine situated in the Kyoto imperial palace dedicated to the faithful court retainer Wake-no-Kiyomaro, who died in 799. a statue of a boar in the shrine precincts and the “wild boar procession” of banner wielding “faithful retainers” which is held at the shrine on April 4th recollect the legend that Kiyomaru lost the use of his legs in the service of empress Shotoku and had to escape in a palanquin. He was overtaken by enemies and only saved by the miraculous intervention of a herd of wild pigs. Kiyomaru was a devout Buddhist and his shrine used to be in precincts of the Buddhist Shingo-ji temple. In 1851 shortly before the Meiji restoration the emperor Komei gave Wake-no-kiyomaro the title of Shoichi-go-o-daimyojin “great protector of the emperor.” His shrine became the Go’o shrine in 1874 and was moved to its present separate site in 1886.

Gu-the title of a type of shrine. Today gu, not to be confused with jingu which is the highest designation, normally indicates a shrine dedicated to the spirit of a member of the imperial family or having some other specially distinguished background.

Hachiman shrines-shrines dedicated to Hachiman account for about half the registered shrines in Japan. About 30,000 are bunsha of the Iwa-shimizu-Hachiman-gu and 15,000 of the Usa-Hachiman-gu.

Haiden-hall of worship. A shrine building or equivalent space, part of the hongu, which is available to worshippers for their prayers and offerings. Distinguish from heiden.

Harae-do-a simple shrine building or marked-out open space used for the purification (harae) of participants before a ceremony.

Heian Jingu-the Heian shrine, Kyoto. One of about 25 new shrines constructed since the Meiji restoration to revere figures of national or patriotic significance. It was built in 1895 to enshrine the spirit of Emperor Kammu (r. 781-806) who founded Kyoto by moving the capital there 1100 years earlier. It was extensively rebuilt in 1940 to accommodate also the spirit of the last pre-Meiji emperor based in Kyoto, Emperor Komei (1844-1865). The shrine building is a replica of the Daigoku-den, the Council Hall in the Heian period Imperial Palace.

Heiden-hall of offerings. A shrine building or equivalent space, normally part of the hongu, where rites of offerings and prayers are carried out by priests rather than ordinary devotees. Distinguish from haiden.

Hie jinja-Hie shrine(s). There are numerous Hie jinja throughout Japan, branch shrines of what is now called the Hie taisha on Mt. Hiei outside the old Capital Kyoto, which enshrines Sanno. Aspects of the Hie jinja in Tokyo which is regarded as the protector shrine of the current imperial palace are described under sanno matsuri.

Hie taisha-the main Hie shrine on Mt. Hiei, Shiga prefecture.

Himorogi-a form of elementary, perhaps prototypical, shrine or shintai comprising an unpolluted space marked out by stakes and Shimenawa or surrounded by evergreens, with a sacred Sakaki tree at the center as the “seat” of the kami. Nowadays the Sakaki branches may be arranged on an eight-legged table (hassokuan) hung with shide to represent the shintai. There are numerous suggested etymologies for himorogi, the term may refer equally to the “tree” or to the marked space.

Hirano jinja-it enshrines the tutelary deity of Kyoto, moved there from Nagaoka in 794 with the transfer of the capital. The procession takes place at cherry-blossom time, on April 10th.

Hiraoka jinja-a shrine in Osaka which enshrines four ancestral deities of the Fujiwara clan. On 25th December the Shimenawa-kake ceremony is performed, in which a huge Shimenawa is hung across the approach to the shrine.

Hokoku jinja-Hokoku (also pronounced toyo-kuni) means “Abundant country.” The Kyoto Hokoku jinja built in 1700 enshrined Hideyoshi, Toyotomi. It was destroyed on a new site in 1880 next to a Buddhist temple built by Heideyoshi, as one of the new Meiji shrines to patriotic heroes. It was designated a bekkaku-kampei-sha and boasts the great Karamon gate from Hideyoshi’s Fushimi-jo castle. There are several toyo-kuni jinja dedicated to Hideyoshi.

Hokora-a small “shrine within a shrine” or a small wayside shrine.

Honden-the main shrine or inner sanctuary where the kami is enshrined.

Hongu-in a jingu the central or basic shrine housing a particular principal deity, as opposed to subsidiary shrines to that deity (bekku, massha, okumiya). It normally comprises the honden, heiden and haiden sections. In the case of a jinja it is called honsha.

Ichi-no-miya-“principal shrine” (followed by ni-no-miya and san-no-miya for second and third rank shrines). Late Heian period termed used by local governors in the Kyoto-Osaka area to identify the currently most distinguished or representative shrines of a particular region in order of their current rank, for shrine visit purposes.

Imamiya Ebisu-jinja-a famous Ebisu shrine in Osaka, venue of the toka ebisu festival on the 10th day (toka) of January.

Ise Jingu-or Ise no jingu, Ise Daijingu. The Ise shrine or Grand shrine of Ise in Mie prefecture south-west of Nara by the Isuzu river. It comprises two shrine complexes, the Kotai Jingi or Naiku (Inner shrine) of Amaterasu and the Toyouke Daijingu or Geku (outer shrine) which enshrines Toyouke, together with their subordinate shrines. The plain wood and reed-thatched shinmei-style main shrines at Ise have been ritually rebuilt next to each other and the kami transferred to the new shrine (shikien sengu) on average about 21 years throughout Japanese recorded history, including a gap of 100 years from 1462. According to Heian period documents such as the Engi-shiki the emperor (represented at Ise by the virgin priestess, the Saio) was the sole ujiko of the Ise ingu. The Naiku or inner shrine, looked after by the Arakida priestly family, tacitly had higher status as the abode of the imperial ancestor Amaterasu. However the geku was the province of the Watarai clan who from the 13th century became more active shinto theorists on behalf of the outer shrine, and “Ise shinto” subsequently meant watarai-type teachings which encountered pilgrimage to Ise by ordinary people and an understanding of Ise as a shrine for everyone, not just the emperor. As private imperial support for Ise declined, popular devotion to the kami at Ise was promoted in its place by an informal but powerful body of Ise priests, the oshi, who established networks of confraternities throughout the country. In return for donations local members received talismans and amulets from Ise and the opportunity to visit the shrine on pilgrimage. In the Tokugawa period extraordinary mass folk pilgrimages to Ise called Okage-mairi occurred at intervals, involving at their height up to four million people. Like all other shrines Ise in practice fostered Buddhist (and Confucian) ideas and practices and in 1868 there were nearly three hundred Buddhist temples around Ise though various traditional taboos against Buddhist existed, dating from the time when the saio’s other-worldly “abstinence” in the sacred precincts of Ise had included a rejection of all features of Buddhism, the religion of the worldly capital, Heian (Kyoto). For example, Buddhist priests were supposed to wear wigs rather than enter the shrine shaven-headed and certain Buddhist terms were prohibited (imi-kotoba). In the Meiji restoration several developments occurred which altered the significance of Ise. Ise was “purified” of Buddhist influences and placed at the top of the hierarchy of shrines, while the idea of Amaterasu as the ancestor of the unbroken imperial line became central to state imperial ideology. The Watarai were transferred to the Naiku and the Arakida to the geku, to subvert the notion of hereditary “ownership” of the shrines and shortly afterwards the administration of the two shrines was combined under a centrally-appointed priesthood. After the Meiji emperor visited Ise in 1869, the first such imperial visit for a thousand years, other shrines were required to align their rites with the reformed ritual calendar (nenchu gyoji) devised for Ise and to worship Ise deities. All citizens were expected to enshrine a taima amulet of the Ise kami in their home altar, symbolically each household therefore became a branch shrine of Ise. Finally, Urata, Nagatami (1840-1893) a priest of Ise planned to establish a satellite Ise shrine (dai jingu or kotai jingu) in every prefecture. About 70 such shrines were established, most of them conversions of existing sites. In the postwar period Ise retains an ambiguous character. On the one hand, it retains the role of imperial household shrine and is identified with the emperor and indirectly with the government, the prime minister customarily visits Ise with his new cabinet. Thus Ise attracts patriotic devotion, but it does not see itself as a shrine which is meant to cater for public tastes. On the other hand, because the imperial household does not have the means to support Ise (the shikinen sengu of 1993 cost around US $ 30m) the shrine has been since 1945 a self-supporting shrine like any other, financed by donations from branch shrines, visitors and supporters and therefore depending for its success on its appeal to a broad public. Because a pilgrimage visit to Ise has, under the Confucian-style influence of later Watarai Shinto, been considered an act of religious merit and spiritual benefit since the Tokugawa period, Ise jingu and shrines in the vicinity such as the Saruda-hiko jinja or the Futami okitami jinja remain a focus for popular, though by no means universal, religious devotion. Ise thus unites, or perhaps blurs the distinction between, the pre-war understanding of shinto as a systematized national cult focusing on the divine emperor and embracing all Japanese citizens as ujiko, and the contemporary notion, enshrined in the new 1847 constitution, of shinto as a religion separate from the state.

Isonokami Jingu-a shrine in Tenri city, Nara, specializing in the practice of chinkon.

Itsukushima jinja-a shrine on the sacred island of Miyajima in the inland sea, Hiroshima prefecture. It is famous throughout the world (thanks to advertising of Japanese beauty spots) for its great 18-meter tall ryobu or shikyaku (four-legged) style torii, set in the sea. The torii was last rebuilt in 1875. The kangen-sai of the shrine held on June 17th of the lunar calendar includes a boat procession with musical accompaniment.

Iwaki-san jinja-an important shrine in the Tohoku region, on Mt. Iwaki. It has an oku-miya at the summit to which worshippers climb during the four days from August 28th to September 1st of the lunar calendar, bearing bunches of reeds on tall poles.

Iwashimizu Hachimangu-a major Hachiman shrine located on top of Mt. Otokoyama, a few miles south-west of Kyoto at the site of a pure rock spring (iwashi-mizu). According to onmyo thought it protected the city from the dangerous influences of the south-west (as the Buddhist Enryaku-ji protects from the northeast). It was established as the result of an oracle of the Usa Hachiman-gu revealed to the Buddhist priest Gyokyo. Hachiman is revered at Iwashimizu as an ancestor of the imperial clan, through his identification with emperor Ojin.

Iwai-den-(or iwai-jin) small village shrines containing the tutelary deities of an extended family. Numerous different kami and Buddhist deities are enshrined in this way.

Izumo taisha- or Izumo o-yashiro. The grand shrine of Izumo, which enshrines a kami known popularly as daikoku-sama, i.e. O-kuni-nushi (“great land”). It is popular among young couples for bestowing ryoen (good marriage). In the month of October by the lunar calendar all the kami (yao-yorozu no kami) from every part of Japan (with the exception of Ebisu who is deaf to the summons) are sent off with rites from their local shrines to gather at Izumo taisha. At Izumo this month is known as kami-ari-zuki, the month when the gods are present, while elsewhere in Japan it is kanna-zuki or kami-no-zuki, the month when the gods are absent. The arrival of the gods is marked by the Izumo taisha jinza-sai (enshrinement rite). The assembling kami are welcomed at the seashore by priests who conduct them to the shrine and offer rites. The kami are accommodated at Izumo in 21 long buildings until the 17th October (lunar calendar) then move on to the sada jinja. Here they stay from November 20-25th (modern calendar) in an empty space enclosed by shimenawa and bamboo between the haiden and the honden before moving on to the Mankusen-no-yashiro on November 26th. The Izumo taisha is built in an archaic style of palace building known as taisha-zukuri. Like the Ise jingu the construction materials are plain wood and thatch. The present buildings date from 1744 although there was a serious fire in 1953 which necessitated rebuilding.

Jingu-shrine of a kind formally superior to jinja, including the two Ise shrines (Naiku, geku) and some shrines where imperial ancestors are enshrined.

Jinguji-a Buddhist place of worship set up within or by a shrine to a kami. The usual arrangement before shinbutsu bunri.

Jisha-“temple-shrine”. Traditional religious centers which evolved out of the relationship between one or more shrines and Buddhist temples, usually implying the identification of each kami with a Buddhist bodhisattva (bosatsu) and the integration of beliefs and ritual practices. The constituent elements of the jisha were “separated” in the shinbutsu bunri of 1868 prior to the emergence of late 19th century shinto.

Jishu jinja-a shrine in Kyoto located in the precincts of the Hosso sect Buddhist temple, Kiyomizu-dera. Like Izumo it is famous for ryoen and emusubi and is therefore patronized by young couples pledging their love and hopes for the future, and by lovers who write ema expressing their feelings to each other and the kami.

Kami jinja-it refers to two ancient shrines regarded as one of the elite seven shrines in the Nijni-sha and worshipped as guardian shrines of the imperial palace and the capital, the Kamo-mi-oya-jinja (also known as the Kamigamo or upper jinja) and the Kamo-wake-ikazuchi-jinja (the shimogamo or lower jinja). They are located in the northern part of Kyoto. The main enshrined kami is tamayori-hime-no-mikoto and the shrines are the venue of the great aoi matsuri of May 15th which includes a ritual involving a saio (virgin priestess). The shrines are built in flowing Nagare-zukuri style in which the shinmei-style roof is extended on one side and flows down to cover the steps and front area of the building.

Kampeisha-“shrines receiving offerings from the jingikan” (i.e. from the emperor). A post Meiji shrine rank. Kampei [sha] taisha were taish of this kind.

Kansha-“government shrines.” A category of shrines identified as important by the Meiji government in 1871/2. Kansha were differentiated from shosha, general or miscellaneous shrines and 109, 824 shosha, of which over 105,000 were small “village” or “unranked” shrines. The kansha/shosha distinction was abolished in 1945 when shinto was disestablished.

Kashiko-dokoro-one of the three main shrines (the others are korei-den and shinden) in the grounds of imperial palace, now in Tokyo. It contains the sacred mirror and replicas of the other imperial regalia (sanshu no shinki) as well as guardian kami of the palace including the five musubi-no-kami.

Kashima jingu-a major shrine in Ibaraki prefecture, traditionally twinned with the Katori jingu and one of the earlist jinguji (shrine-temple complexes). It is dedicated to the warrior-kami Take-mika-zuchi who according to the Kojiki toured Japan putting to flight evil kami and pacifying the country, thereby enabling the heavenly kami to take possession of the land. The shrine building was reconstructed (shikinen sengu) every 20 years until the 15th century. Behind the shrine building is the kaname-ishi stone which “seals down” the earthquake kami nai-no-kami. Kasuga taisha-the grand shrine of Kasuga, in Nara. With the Buddhist temple Kofukuji the shrine formed part of the pre-Meiji Kasuga daimyojin temple-shrine complex. It was named Kasuga jinja in 1871, having been “purified” of Buddhist elements. The present name was adopted in 1946. The Kasuga shrine was ritually rebuilt (shikinen sengu) every 20 years until just before the Meiji restoration.

Katori jingu-a major shrine in Chiba. One of the oldest shrines in Japan, it is traditionally paired with Kashima jingu at the other end of lake Kasumi-ga-ura. The shrine is dedicated to futsu-nushi (or Iwai-nushi no kami), a warrior-kami who with Take-mika-zuchi-no-kami pacified Japan to make way for the descent and rule of the heavenly kami. An o-ta-ue-sai (rice-planting festival) is held at the shrine on 5-6th May.

Keidaichi-the precincts of a shrine. Generally the outer parts farthest from the seat of the kami are least sacred. The worshipper passes through boundaries within the keidaichi, under one or more torii, past a fence (tama-gaki) through a gate (shin-mon), over a bridge (hashi) etc., to reach the center.

Kibitsu jinja-a shrine in Okayama, dedicated to the kami Kibitsu-hiko-no-mikoto, one of the sons of the legendary 7th emperor Korei. He is credited with defeating Korean invaders and developing the region. His son is the children’s folk-hero Monotaro. A wooden statue (shinzo) serves as the shintai. The shrine epitomizes the kibi-or kibitsu-zukuri style. The shinsen (food offerings) at the two grand festivals comprise 75 dishes carried in single file by shrine servants.

Kitano tenmangu-(Kyoto) one of the many Tenjin shrines in Japan dedicated to the spirit of Sugawara, Michizane. The shrine is visited by worshippers on 25th of each month, the day on which Michizane was born and died. Its architecture exemplifies that large yatsu-mune style.

Kobe Nishinomiya jinja-a famous shrine in Nishinomiya (Kobe) dedicated to “Nishinomiya Ebisu”, the kami of fishermen and merchants. It has about 3,000 branch temples (bunsha) throughout Japan.

Kokuheisha-“shrine receiving offerings from the local government.” The second rank of formally recognized shrines (after Kampeisha) in the Engi-Shiki. Revived as a post-Meiji shrine rank.

Korei-den-one of the three main shrines in the imperial palace. It enshrines the spirits of past emperors.

Kotai jingu-or dai jingu. Outpost shrines (in total about 70) of the Ise Jingu established by the Ise priest Urata, Nagatami in the early Meiji period with a bunrei of the Ise jingu. They were intended to become local centers of Ise for state rites and some were strategically sited to protect the nation from foreign influences, Buddhism, etc. The Yokohama Ise Yaka Kotai jingu constructed under this program was designed to prevent the spread of Christianity from the port area. Several kotai jingu were constructed voluntarily by resettled communities (e.g. in newly-colonized Hokkaido) who wished to re-establish their link with the center of things. The Tokyo dai jingu developed out of a yohaisho of Ise jingu built in the early Meiji period.

Kumano Nachi taisha-a shrine on Mt. Nachi, Wakayama which until the Meiji restoration was a Buddhist-shinto shugendo complex dedicated to Kannon bosatsu.

Kyuchu sanden-the three shrine buildings in the imperial palace in Tokyo, the Kashiko-dokoro, Korei-den and shinden. They were built in 1889 for the emperor to perform rites for the imperial ancestors and other annual observances.

Massha-“branch shrine.” Like sessha, a minor shrine which is a “branch” of another shrine within a host shrine’s precincts.

Matsuno-o taisha-a Kyoto shrine founded in 701 and dedicated to two kami one of whom is identified as the tutelary kami of sake-brewing. The shrine and its branch shrines are effectively dedicated to the kami of sake. The Mikoshi procession (shinko-shiki) in April includes a trip by boat across the Katsura river to the o-tabisho.

Meiji jingu-a large and major shrine in central Tokyo, a favorite venue for hatsumode. It is dedicated to the deified spirits of the Meiji emperor who died in 1912 and his empress, Shoken. The shrine was completed in 1920-21, the result of an unprecedented national construction project which involved a large outlay in public funds and volunteer labor by Buddhist, shinto and other youth groups from all over Japan, reflecting a genuine affection and admiration for the Meiji emperor.

Minatogawa jinja-a Meiji era bekkaku-kampei-sha in Kobe built in 1871 around an earlier monument to Kusunoki, Masahige to whom the shrine is dedicated. Since 1987 it has formed part of a shichi-fukujin route developed around seven major shrines and Buddhist temples to promote tourism and shrine visits in Kobe.

Nagata Jinja-a shrine in Kobe, said to have been established originally in the second century. Its kami is Koto-shiro-nushi-no-kami. The tsuina ceremony at setsubun is unusual in that the purifying torches are waved by “good” oni.

Nijuni-sha-the 22 shrines. An elite grouping of shrines (16 to begin with) in the Kyoto-Ise-Nara area which from the mid-Heian period acquired a high and separate status, differentiated from shrines elsewhere in the country. They were grouped into three divisions, the “upper seven” shrines (Ise, Iwashimizu, both Kamo shrines, Matsuno, Airano, Inari and Kasuga), the “middle seven” shrines (Oharano, Omiwa, Isonokami, Oyamato, Hirose, Tatsuta, Sumiyoshi), and the “eight lower” shrines (Hie, Umenomiya, Yoshida, Hirota, Gion, Kitano, Niukawakami and Kifune).

Nikko Toshogu-the mausoleum at Nikko of Tokugawa, Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun, renowned for the beauty of the shrine and its settings. It was built in richly decorative gongen-zukuri style by the Tendai Buddhist monk Tenkai who successfully wrestled the authority to enshrine the shogun away from the Yoshida and constructed the shrine in line with Sanno ichijitsu shinto ideas. The main festival is the sennin-gyoretsu (thousand-person procession), a Tokugawa-period costume pageant on May 17th-18th. There is a smaller mikoshi procession with 500 participants on October 17th.

Nishinomiya ebisu jinja-a major shrine in Nishinomiya (the name of the town means “western shrine”) near Osaka, dedicated to Ebisu. The worship of the joint deities Ebisu and (the now little known) Saburo originated there in massha of the Hirota jinja to the east. Four kami are enshrined at Nishinomiya, Nishinomiya no okami (i.e. a posh name for Ebisu) Amaterasu, Susa-no-o and Okuni-nushi. The main festival is the toka ebisu on 10th January.

Nogi jinja-the Nogi jinja in Minato-ku, Tokyo enshrines the renowned general Nogi, Maresuke who committed ritual suicide (seppuku) with his wife on the death of the Meiji emperor. There are three further hogi shrines in places connected with his life, all erected between 1915-1919.

Okumiya-the “interior” or less accessible shrine in shrines where there are two buildings, for example one at the foot and the other at the summit of a mountain. It contrasts with hongu/honsha. Another name is Yamamiya “mountain shrine.”

Osaka tenman-gu-founded in Osaka in 951 on the order of emperor Murakami, who saw a miraculous light at a place where Sugawara no Michizane stayed on his way to Kyushu. It enshrines the spirit of Michizane and several other kami and hosts the tenjin matsuri.

Osaka gokoku jinja-the gokoku shrine to the war-dead of Osaka prefecture.

O-tabisho-“a place on a journey.” A sacred piece of ground, sometimes with a temporary shrine building constructed with appropriate rites which serves as the temporary resting place for the kami who traveled out of the main shrine in a mikoshi. Most often the otabisho is the place where the kami resides during a festival (matsuri). Although the main shrine is normally seen as the “home” of the kami, it is thought that the shrine building may originally have been simply the storage place for the mikoshi while the otabisho was the main ceremonial center for rites to the kami. During the on-matsuri of the Wakamiya jinja for example the otabisho is at a central place equidistant from the main Buddhist temple and shrine which formed the pre-Meiji jisha complex of Kasuga Daimyojin.

Saikan-the shrine hall or building where priests undertake forms of saikai (abstinence, purification) before participating in shinto rituals.

Sando-the “approach path” to a shrine. It is used for the path from the torii to the center of the shrine but may be extended also to roads leading to the shrine. Technically the sando should not follow a straight line, perhaps because it was thought disrespectful or inauspicious to approach the kami directly, but in many shrines circumstances dictate that the sando is straight. The term gives rise to street names linked to shrines such as omoto-sando, the “front approach.”

Saniwa-a sacred area in a “garden” covered with white pebbles, used for certain rituals. In the Kojiki it meant a place where the interpreter of oracles stood. Sanja-the “three shrines” of Ise, Kasuga and Hachiman which by the 12th century came to be seen as a unity that protected the state. They were hierarchically positioned above a similar group of “seven shrines” (Ise, Iwashimizu, Kamo, Kasuga, Hie, Gion, Kitano) which in turn were placed above the Hijuni-sha (22 shrines.)

Sapporo Jinja=Hokkaido Jingu. A shrine in Sapporo, Hokkaido, founded immediately after the Meiji restoration in 1869 for the protection of Hokkaido, whose inhabitants, the Ainu were subjugated and the island almost completely “Japanized” by the early 20th century. It enshrines the Kaitaku sanshun, “three deities of the opening up of the land” mentioned in the kojiki, namely O-kuni-tama-no-kami (O-kuni-nushi). O-namuji-no kami and Sukuna-Nikona-no-kami. The main festival on June 15th features a procession of participants in ancient Japanese costumes.

Sato-miya-“village shrine.” Part of a two shrine complex, dedicated to the same mountain kami. One shrine, the sato-miya, is located conveniently in or near a village. It is paired with another shrine of the same kami in an inaccessible place, such as high up the mountain. There are two interpretations of the function of a sato-miya. It may be seen as a yohai-jo (“worship from afar” shrine) of the second shrine, or it may be the second home of a kami who travels from the mountain to the plain according to the agricultural cycle.

Sessha-an “additional” or “included” shrine, like a massha, found in the grounds of a major shrine and usually enshrining a minor kami, perhaps from a merged shrine.

-Sha-shrine. That which marks a place where kami resides. It is the “ja” of jinja (jin-kami). In “Japanese” pronunciation, sha is read yashiro. The character sha is composed of two elements, to point out, indicate, and earth, ground.

Shaden-shrine hall(s). A collective term for the central buildings of a shrine. Depending on the size and configuration of the shrine the shaden may include honsha/hongu, bekku, oku-miya, sessha and massha.

Sha-go-shrine titles, for example [dai]-jingu, -gu, taisha, and the most common appellation jinja or -sha. Before the Meiji restoration most officially ranked shrines were awarded their status by the Yoshida priestly clan in response to petitions and donations. As a result of the centralization of shrine ranking. Since the Meiji period and again after 1945 by the jinja honcho, titles of shrines now reflect more or less their relative status within a single loose hierarchy that has at its apex the Ise jingu.

Sha-musho-the administrative offices of a shrine.

Shiki-nai-sha-“shrine in the [Engi-] Shiki.” The proud claim of 2861 shrines with 3132 enshrined deities mentioned in the 10th century compilation, the Engi-shiki, either as imperial shrines (Kansha) or provincial shrines (kokuheisha). The shrines are listed in the jinmyocho (register of shrine names) in volumes nine and ten of the Engi-shiki. Some fell victim to jinja gappei.

Shinden-kami-hall. One of the three main shrines in the imperial palace. It is the “hall of the kami” (of heavenly earth).

Shin’en-sacred garden. Another name for the precincts of a shrine (keidaichi).

Shinkai-“kami-status.” The rank of a shrine.

Shiogama jinja-(salt-cauldron shrine). A shrine in Miyagi, dedicated to the kami of fishermen and of salt extraction, shio-tsuchi-no-oji-no-kami. It hosts the Minami-matsuri on July 11th, in which a mikoshi travels round Matsushima bay on a boat.

Shokonsha-“shokon” means to invoke or invite the spirits of the dead, specifically the war dead. A shokonsha is a type of shrine dedicated since the Meiji period to past military heroes and the spirits of the war dead. In Meiji-era Tokyo, “the shokonsha” referred to the Yasukuni jinja. Initially there were 27 “special” shokonsha shrines (bekkaku-kampei-sha) enshring well-known loyal servants of the emperors and unifiers of the country. By 1901 there were 138 shrines classified as shokonsha, all were renamed gokoku jinja “nation-protecting shrines” in 1939. Prefectural gokoku jinja were set up after the Russo-Japanese war and recognized as shokonsha. Below these were local, public or private war memorials such as chukonhi (memorials to loyal spirits). Many of the non-shrine war memorials located in schools and other public areas were destroyed under the Shinto Directive but major memorials containing the remains of the war dead such as the chureito (tower to loyal spirits) in Okayama which is built within the Okayama gokoku shine precincts may be seen.

Shosha-“general shrine.” The large category of shrines recognized for general administrative purposes. One of the provincial designations of shrines, dating from the mid-Heian period. The category was abolished after 1945.

Soreisha-small shinto shrines for the ancestors of the household.

Suiten-gu-a riverside shrine in Kurume, Kyushu dedicated to Ame-no-minaka-nushi, Koreimon-in and her son, the unfortunate child-emperor Antoku as deities of water and easy birth. The shrine has numerous bunsha including the Tokyo suiten-gu where Antoku is worshipped as a kami governing water. The spring festival on May 5th includes a boat crossing of the Chikugo river.

Sumiyoshi taisha-an important Osaka shrine, popular today for commercial success among the businessmen of Osaka and traditionally revered for bestowing safety at sea. It is dedicated to kami born from Izanagi’s purification in the sea after he had visited his dead wife Izanami in the land of yomi. Three kami enshrined in the sumiyoshi taisha and in thousands of bunsha. Sumiyoshi, Naka-tsutu-no-o-no-mikoto and Wa-tsutsu-no-o-no-mikoto. A ceremony is held on the last day of the year according to the lunar calendar in which one of three officiating priests carries the “divine spear” and seaweed is gathered, presented to the kami and the distributed to participants. It is revered both as promoting safety at sea and for easy child birth.

Taiwan jinja-the main shrine in Taiwan during Japan’s occupation of the country. It was built in 1901 as a kampeisha taisha to enshrine various kami, among them the spirit of kitashirakawa no miya yoshihisa sinno, a hero in the Japanese imperial army who died after fighting at Tainan (southern Taiwan) in 1896. There were about 30 shinto shrines in Taiwan, as well as shrines in other occupied areas such as Manchuria and Korea. All were destroyed when the Japanese left at the end of the second world war.

Tama-ya-(or mitama-ya, or sorei-sha). In the minority of cases where Buddhist funerals is not carried out, a shinto tama-ya (house for the spirits of the ancestors) is used in place of the butsudan. It is a small shinto alter, usually placed below the kamidana. In it are enshrined, 50 days after the first funeral rites (sosai), symbols representing the resident spirit of the ancestor such as a scroll or mirror.

Tanritsu jinja-“individually-established shrine.” A postwar category of shrine, referred to also as a tanritsu shukyo dantai or “independent religious body”. It means that the shrine, usually because it is important enough to be self-supporting and self-governing, is affiliated neither with the countrywide Jinja Honcho nor with other smaller shrine networks such as the Jinja Honkyo in Kyoto. Examples of tanritsu shrines include the Yasukuri jinja, Fushimi Inari taisha and Omiwa-taisha.

Tsurugaoka hachimangu-the third main Hachiman shrine in the center of Kamakura, seat of the kamakura bakufu who maintained close connections with the shrine. It was established in 1063 with a bunrei of the Iwashimizu Hachimangu and hence the Usa Hachimangu. The reitaisai (great annual festival) is held on September 14-16th, with eve of festival rituals on 14th, a parade of three mikoshi on 15th and on the final day a celebrated high-speed yabusame event founded by Yoritomo, Minamoto in the 12th century which features three archers dressed in Kamakura hunting costume (karisho-zoku).

Waka-miya-literally “newly-built shrine”, “young shrine.” It generally means a shrine dedicated to the “divided spirit” (bunrei) of a kami. Wakamiya shrines may be established to console the bunrei of a deity enshrined in a main shrine, to revere the offspring (mi-ko-gami), a subset of the kenzoku or retinue of a main kami, or to console a vengeful spirit, goryo.

Wakamiya jinja-build in 1135 in the grounds of the kasugu shrine, it came under the authority of the kofukuji Buddhist temple and was organized by inhabitants of Yamato province. It opened up the cult of kasuga daimyokin to the wider community beyond the elite circle of the Fujiwara and imperial households whose rites focused on the kasuga shrine and kofukuji. The kami of Wakamiya was identified with two bosatsu, Kannon and Monju. Its priests were drawn from the Chidori household, a sub-branch of the Nakatomi. An archaic temporary shrine (kari no miya) is built each year into which the kami is ritually transferred in darkness by a great procession of priests during the night of December 17 for the annual on-matsuri. This matsuri was instituted in 1136 and rapidly grew into a lavishly endowed pageant comprising a procession through Nara of local worthies, lay devotees, monks and shrine officials with special food offerings, kagura and other entertainment for the kami including dengaku field songs and dances.

Yama-miya-mountain shrine. A shrine established on the summit or side of a mountain where the mountain is regarded as the kami or its shintai. The yamamiya may also be called the okumiya as opposed to a satomiya more conveniently located. The yamamiya may be connected with the yama-no-kami/ta-no-kami cycle.

Yasaka jinja-usually referred to as the Gion shrine, Kyoto. Established as a protection against pestilence, it has retained more than some other shrines the combinatory ji-sha (temple-shrine) character of the pre-Meiji period in its architecture and in its festival, the Gion matsuri, which is probably the best-known and most spectacular in Japan. It has about 3,000 branch shrines (bunsha) throughout the country.

Yashikigami-house kami, and the name of the miniature shrine in which the kami resides. The shrine is kept in an auspicious location in the grounds or courtyard of a large rural house, in contrast to kamidana which are far more commonly found and are normally inside. The yashikigami is closely identified with ancestors of the household and spirit of the land. Daily offerings (shinsen) may be made to the Yashikigami. Like the chinju no kami it may come to be regarded as an ujigami, especially where only the largest house in a village has a yashikigami. In some villages it is the custom to have a yashikigami in each house.

Yasukuni jinja-the yasukuni (the name means pacification of the country) shrine was constructed after the Meiji restoration to enshrine the 7,752 spirits of those loyalists who had died during battles related to the restoration. It was first known (until 1879) as shokonsha and became increasingly important as a focus for patriotic loyalty from the 1890s. It was considered an unsurpassed honor to be enshrined at Yasukuni, since the souls there were paid reverence by the emperor. The Meiji emperor visited Yasukuni seven times on special occasions, the Taisho emperor paid tribute twice and the Showa emperor Hirohito visited on average once a year up to 1945. Nearly two and a half million war dead from Japan’s miliary conflicts including the wars with China (1894-5), Russia (1904-5) and the battles of two world wars have been enshrined there, including “class A” war criminals from the second world war enshrined as late as the 1970s. A mitama-matsuri (soul festival) in honor of the war-dead is held from July 13-15th each summer with thousands of lanterns and ritual dancing. In the prewar period the cabinet visited the yasukuni shrine twice a year at the time of the spring and autumn festivals and the shrine was supported by the Army Ministry. In the Shinto Directive the yasukuni claaified unequivocally as a religious institution rather than simply a burial place, on the grounds that professional shinto priests severe the shrine, kamidana and amulets are provided to the bereaved family and prayers of gratitude offered to the enshrined spirits. The shrine is not affiliated to the Jinja Honcho. Since the war, visits by prime ministers of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which has been in government throughout most of the postwar period have continued this practice with, from 1974, an additional visit on August 15, the anniversary of Japan’s surrender. In most cases Prime Ministers have visited ostensibly as private individuals or were deliberately ambivalent about the status of their visit. Because of the separation of religion and state and the prohibition use of public funds for religious rites prescribed in the postwar constitution of Japan, these semi-official visits have provoked continuing dissension and opposition especially from non-shinto religious groups and democracy activists in Japan. Visits to the yasukuni shrine area matter of particular sensitivity because since 1872 the shrine has functioned as a war museum, managed until 1945 by the war ministries, displaying with pride items such as fighter planes, submarines, tanks and guns, and with plaques celebrating Japanese military exploits in Asia including the Nanjin massacre. Following five successful attempts by the LDP government in the early 1970s to have a bill passed by the Japanese parliament for state support of the yasukuni shrine, Prime Minister Nakasone, Yasuhiro visited the shrine in 1983 and signed the register with his official title. On 15 August 1985, despite publication of an inconclusive report on the issue of the cabinet paid formal tribute at the shrine. This action met with strong opposition in Japan and infuriated Japan’s Asian neighbors, with the result that further visits were suspended. The government nevertheless indicated that it still proposed to move towards formal tribute at the shrine by the Emperor, the cabinet and the jietai (the Japanese armed forces). There have been other cases brought against prefectural governments who have made donations to yasukumi. The yasukuni shrine question turns on the issue of whether shinto is a religion, and whether shinto rites can be performed as civic ritual, and is thus intimately connected with cases such as the tsujichinsai and the self-defense force goshi case.

Yohai-jo-or yohai-sho, yohaiden. “Place (or hall) for worship form afar (yohai)”. A location, often a small building, used for worship of another holy site from a distance, or for worship of an inaccessible “inner” shrine (okumiya) from a more convenient spot. From the 1870s yohai-sho of the Ise jingu were established throughout Japan (some became provincial kotai jingu) as part of the effort by Ise priests to focus the worship of the population on the Ise shrines. In prewar Japan (and until 1947) the term yohai was used for the ceremony of bowing to the imperial palace from schools.

Yoshida jinja-a Kyoto shrine dedicated to the ujigami of the powerful Fujiwara family. It was recognized as one of the elite Nijuni-sha in 1081. The Urabe family who started out as court divines and onmyo specialists rose in importance by becoming priests of the shrine and subsequently took the name Yoshida. The decline of the court’s ability to support the shrine led to efforts by Yoshida, Kanetomo to raise the status of the Yoshida jinja and Mt. Yoshida as the center of Yui-itsu shinto. By the end of the 15th century, thanks to the efforts of Kanetomo the Yoshida had acquired the right, which it retained until the time of the Meiji restoration, to a ward ranks to the deities of local shrines.

Yoshino jingu0a shrine in Nara, transferred from the nearby Yoshimizu jinja in 1889. It enshrines both the emperor Go-daigo, who after retreating to Mt. Yoshino took part in the short-lived “Kemmu restoration,” and his devoted servant Kusunoki, Masahige.

Yutoku inari jinja-a shrine in Saga prefecture, the most popular Inari shrine in Kyushu. Introduced from Kyoto in 1688 it enshrines Saruda-hiko, Ame-no-Uzume and a number of other deities. The shrine was rebuilt in concrete in 1957. A celebrated harvest hi-matsuri is performed with a great fire surrounded by green bamboo sticks in front of the shrine on December 8th.