Aoso Shrine in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, is the headquarters of Aoso shrines all over the country. It was founded in 852 by Hozumi Yasumasa, the ancestor of the current shrine priest’s family, who came to this area from Kyoto. He enshrined Amaterasu Omikami (the sun goddess), Ame no Minakanushi no Kami (the god of the universe), and Tsukuyomi no Kami (the god of the moon) in the cave where holy water sprang out; hereby the shrine is famous as the place where the sun, the stars and the moon are enshrined together.
Yasumasa taught the villagers how to grow hemp plants. It is said that the shrine name “Aoso,” which literally means Green Hemp, was derived from this episode. The shrine has been known for its divine power to cure and prevent palsy, and it is said that if you visit this shrine three times, you will never be stricken with palsy for the rest of your life.
As the Hozumi clan was involved in maritime industry, the shrine is also worshipped as the deity of navigation safety. The famous fine water “Osuzu” springs out in the precinct. A lot of visitors come to take a drink of this holy water.
Shinmeisha Shrine is located in Wakuya Hinata in Wakuya Town, Miyagi Prefecture. The enshrined deities are Amaterasu Omikami and Amenonakanushi no Kami. The origin of the shrine is not clear, but it is said that it was originally located in Kozutsumi Village in present Watari Town and enshrined Uganomitama no Kami. In 1591, when Watari Motomune, the ruler of this area, was transferred to Wakuya, he relocated the shrine to its current location, which was said to be a holy place associated with Shiogama Shrine.
Haiden (the oratory) of Shinmeisha Shrine is designated as a cultural property by the prefecture as one of the few Genroku-era structures. It was constructed in 1698. It is a 3-bay wide and 2-bay deep wooden building with a copper roof in Irimoya-zukuri (hip and gabled) style. No painting is applied to the building.
The front side has the 1-bay step-canopy. The railing is built around three sides of the building. The carved decorations are painted with white pigment made of burnt seashell.
The gable pediments are embellished with large bottle-shaped struts cut out to fit over rainbow beams. The ridge is covered with decorative boards with a symmetrical three-fold pattern and turnip-shaped cover boards.
Suitengu Shrine located in Nihonbashi Kakigara-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo is a shrine famous for visits by women who pray for fertility and safe deliveries. The enshrined deities are Ameno Minakanushi no Kami, Emperor Antoku, Takakura no Taira no Chugu (or Kenreimonin, Emperor Antoku’s mother) and Nii-no Ama (Taira no Tokiko). The origin of the shrine is traced back to 1818, when the domain lord of Kurume, Yoshinori Arima, transported part of his family shrine of Suitengu Shrine in his homeland and founded a new shrine within his residential boundary in Edo. As it was located in the private property, townspeople could not visit it at first. However, with the reputation of its Goriyaku (benefit) spread, it was open to public on the 5th day every month, to which people were grateful and called it “Shuitengu at benevolent Lord Arima.”
In 1871, with the relocation of the residence of the domain lord, it was moved to Akasaka, and then in the next year moved again to the present place, where the Naka-yashiki (middle residence) of the Kurume domain had been located. Suitengu Shrine has a long history of worshipped by townspeople since the Edo period.
Sumisaka Shrine is located along the Uda River in Haibara-ku, Uda, in Nara Prefecture. The shrine used to be located on the west path of the Amanomori (Forest of the Heavens) of Sumisaka, but, in 1499, it was transferred to its present site.
Until the Meiji period, the Amano Temple deified both Buddhist and Shinto gods, giving it alternative names such as Rokusha Gongen and Amano Shrine. The present enshrined deity is the Sumisaka Omiwa God, which is a generic name for the six pillars of the Amenominakanushinokami, Takamimusubinokami, Kamimusubinokami, Izanakinokami, Izanaminokami and the Omononushinokami. Legends told that during Emperor Sujin's imperial reign, an epidemic spread across his empire. However, if the sick person deified the god that appeared in their dreams, which was the Sumisaka Omiwa God, their illness would be cured instantly.
Every year in November, a festival called the Sumisaka Togyo Gyoretsu takes place, where a mikoshi (portable shrine) is carried, along with a red shield and red sword, from Sumisaka Shrine at its current location to its prior location in the Amanomori (Forest of the Heavens).