Engishiki Jinmyocho (register of shrines in Japan) (延喜式神名帳)

The Engishiki Jinmyocho is the name given to the ninth and the tenth volumes of the "Engishiki" (an ancient Japanese book of administrative regulations and ceremonial procedures that was completed in 927), which provide a list of shrines throughout the country that were designated as 'kansha' (official shrines) at that time. The shrines listed in the Engishiki Jinmyocho are called Engishikinaisha (or simply Shikinaisha or Shikisha), meaning 'shrines listed in the Engishiki,' and this term also represents a kind of shrine ranking.

The 'Jinmyocho' was originally a kansha list created by the Jingikan (department of worship), which was instituted under the kodai ritsuryosei (ancient East Asian system of centralized governance), and it is also called the Kanshacho (book of official shrines). The shrines are sorted according to their provinces and districts, along with their respective enshrined deities and shrine rankings. The Engishiki Jinmyocho is the series of the Jinmyocho as of the time that the Engishiki was documented. The Engishiki Jinmyocho lists 2861 shrines (thus called Shikinaisha) across the country, and the number of their enshrined deities (Shinto) is 3132.

The Shikinaisha shrines were regarded as official shrines by the Imperial Court at the beginning of the 10th century when the Engishiki was edited, and its selection was greatly affected by the political situation. Shrines which definitely existed at that time but were not listed on the Engishiki Jinmyocho are called Shikigesha. The Shikigesha shrines include shrines which were out of the Imperial Court's sphere, shrines which had their own influence (such as Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine), shrines which were thought to enshrine the Buddha due to the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism, shrines which were under Buddhist priests' control (such as Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine), and shrines which did not have a formal shrine building. The Shikigesha shrines which are listed on the Rikkokushi (Japan's six national histories) are specially referred to as Kokushigenzaisha (some Shikinaisha shrines are also included in this in a broad sense).

The rankings of the Shikinaisha shrines
There are several classifications of the Shikinaisha shrines. Firstly, they are classified into Kanpeisha (shrines designated as official by Jingikan) and Kokuheisha (shrines under the control of provincial governors). The kansha shrines are the shrines which receive heihaku (Shinto offering such as cloth, paper, and rope) from Jingikan at the Kinen-sai festival (a prayer service for a good crop) held in February of each year, and hafuribe (local priests) from each shrine gathered at Jingikan to receive heihaku. In 798, the kansha shrines were divided into Kanpeisha which continued to receive heihaku from Jingikan, and Kokuheisha which received heihaku from a kokushi (provincial governor) of the ryoseikoku (province) in where that shrine was. Shikinaisha consists of 573 Kanpeisha shrines with 737 enshrined deities and 2288 Kokuheisha shrines with 2395 enshrined deities. Although it is believed that Kokuheisha was set up because hafuribe at shrines in distant provinces had difficulty in traveling to the capital city, some significant shrines in distant provinces were classified as Kanpeisha.

Secondly, the Shikinaisha shrines are classified into Taisha (grand shrines) and Shosha (minor shrines). It is believed that the shrines were classified according to their significance and influence. Since every Shikinaisha shrine has to be classified into Kanpeisha or Kokuheisha, and Taisha or Shosha, each Shikinaisha shrine must belong to one of the following four groups.

Kanpei-taisha (grand shrines under the control of the department of worship)
198 shrines with 304 enshrined deities
Kokuhei-taisha (grand shrines under the control of provincial governors)
155 shrines with 188 enshrined deities
Kanpei-shosha (minor shrines under the control of the department of worship)
375 shrines with 433 enshrined deities
Kokuhei-shosha (minor shrines under the control of provincial governors)
2133 shrines with 2207 enshrined deities
Most Kanpei-taisha shrines are in the vicinal territories of the capital, but some are in other regions as well. All the Kanpei-shosha shrines are in the vicinal territories of the capital, and all the Kokuhei-taisha and Kokuhei-shosha shrines are out of the vicinal territories of the capital. Although the modern shrine ranking system has some rankings named the same, such rankings refer to different types of classification from the Shikinaisha rankings. Also, the shrine rankings in the modern system have nothing to do with the shrine rankings in the Engishiki, as they are determined according to the importance and influence of the shrines at the time of ranking.

Shikinaisha includes some shrines that receive heihaku at some services other than the Kinen-sai festival, and such shrines have a note about this along with their shrine rankings.

There are some shrines that enshrine 'Myojin', the wonder-working deities, and have an extraordinary festival called the Myojin-sai festival. These shrines are called Myojin-taisha (or Myojindai) because they are all classified into Taisha.

The shrines that receive heihaku at the Tsukinami-sai festival (the festival held half-yearly, in June and December)
The shrines that have the Ainame-sai festival (a prayer to offer new crops to the deities before the Niiname-sai festival)
The shrines that receive heihaku at The Niiname-sai festival (The festival held in November of each year to celebrate a harvest in that year)

Ronja (shrines considered to be descendants of Shikinaisha)
There has been a study to specify the descendents of the Shikinaisha shrines for a long time. If a shrine's name, its enshrined deity, or its enshrinement place has been changed, the shrine has been merged with another shrine, and/or it has been reestablished after falling to ruin, it sometimes produces more than one shrine that are considered to be a Shikinaisha descendant. In that case, such shrines are referred to as Ronja. The Ronja shrines include many shrines that they themselves insist are Shikinaisha as well as some shrines which are acknowledged to be a descendant shrine by external researchers.

In recent years, they have had a nationwide survey of the extant Shikinaisha shrines, and its result has been published in "Shikinaisha Chosa Hokoku." (The Report of the Shikinaisha Survey) (edited by Shikinaisha Kenkyukai, the Kogakkan University publishing department)

[Original Japanese]