The origin of Oiso Shrine in Azuchi Town, Shiga Prefecture, is unknown, but it is presumed to have been the oratory for the mountain god residing at the top of Mt. Kinugasa. The enshrined deity is Amatsukoyane no Mikoto, an ancestor of the Fujiwara clan.
According to a legend, when Ototachibanahime no Mikoto threw herself into the sea to appease the rage of the sea god and saved Yamato Takeru, who was on his way to the eastern land, she was pregnant and said “I will stay in Oiso Woods and become a guardian goddess for safe childbirth.” From this episode, the shrine is visited by a lot of women who offer a prayer for safe delivery.
Guarded by Oiso Woods, Honden (the main hall) stands at the end of the front approach. It is a 3-bay flowing style building. Tosatsu (the wooden plate staked to a building7s ridgepole stating details of the construction) shows that it was constructed in 1581. The stone monument inscribed with a poem written by Motoori Norinaga, a Japanese scholar of Kokugaku during the Edo period, stands in a corner of the precinct.
Kota Shrine is in Sadowara-cho, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture. The shrine is said to have been founded in 831 and was called Kota Hachiman for a long time. The enshrined deities are Emperor Ojin and Sumiyoshi Yonsha no Kami (the four deities enshrined at Shumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka).
During the Edo period, it was respected by the domain lords, the Shimazu clan, as one of the seven major shrines in the domain. In the precinct erected a stone lantern dedicated by Shimazu Korehisa.
Honden (the main hall) is the prefecture’s only one existing building in Muromachi-period architectural style. This 3-bay building in Nagare-zukuri style (flowing style) with attractive vermillion pillars is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.
The Kota kagura dance performed in November every year is a traditional theatrical art with a history of 400 years. 20 out of 33 plays in total are performed at this festival. Dancers with kagura mask on their faces, the sound of a large drum and tunes of Japanese flute all melt into the surrounding atmosphere and fascinate the spectators.
Takeda Hachiman Shrine is located in Kamiyama-machi, Nirasaki City, Yamanashi Prefecture. It was founded in 822, when the deity of Usa Hachiman was transferred to this place under the order of Emperor Saga.
It is said that the shrine is the birthplace of the Takeda clan, because Genpuku (a traditional Japanese coming-of-age ceremony) of Minamoto no Nobuyoshi took place at this shrine and he renamed himself Takeda Nobuyoshi and became the founder of the clan. Four deities including Takeda Take no Okami and Honda Wake no Mikoto are enshrined.
From the Torii gate, the front approach runs straight to Honden (the main hall) at the foot of the mountain. Honden (the main hall), which was reconstructed in 1541 by Takeda Shingen, is a 3-bay building in Nagare-zukuri style with a cypress bark roof. Elaborate decorative designs are given to every part of the building. It is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.
Fuwa Hachimangu Shrine, or also known as Sho Hachiman or Hirohata Hachiman, located in Shimanto City, Kochi Prefecture was founded about 520 years ago by Ichijo Narifusa, the former Kanpaku (the first secretary to the emperor) and his family, who had taken refugee from Onin War (1467-1477) in Kyoto and built a town of Nakamura in this province. The deities of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine in Kyoto were transferred to this place and enshrined as the guardian god of the family and the Hata area (the southwestern part of Kochi Prefecture).
Honden (the main building) of this shrine is a 3-bay building in Nagare-zukuri (flowing style) with a Kokera-buki (thin wooden shingles) roof. It is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.
Many of the rituals performed at this shrine are derived from the intention of the Ichijo family to improve the lifestyle of the local commoners at the time. Yabusame (horseback archery) was held for martial training. To mend a local custom of Yomekatsugi (bride depredation), the marriage ceremony of deities residing in Fuwa Hachimangu Shrine and Ichinomiya Shrine started to be held, which is solemnly performed still today.
Base on the saving mind, local products were fully used to carry out the rituals, which contributed to the development of local economy and success of the festivals. Aestheticism of the nobility of Kyoto and the local culture of common people were successfully blended at this shrine.