Nijunisha (22 Shrines) (二十二社)
The 22 Shrines are part of the Shakaku for Shinto shrines. They were established from the middle to late Heian period. These shrines receive special offerings from the Imperial Court. They are mostly chosen from shrines in the Kinai area.
Establishment of the 22 Shrines
Under the Ritsuryo system, offerings were given by the Imperial court for Kinen-sai and other festivals to many shrines listed in the Engi-shiki Jimmyo-cho; but that number has been reduced to a special few shrines after the decline of the Ritsuryo system. That number and the shrines in it changed many times and came to include some newly established shrines, before being finalized as the following 22 Shrines in 1081. Although the movement at the end of the Heian period to include Itsukushima Shrine was not successful, that shrine received offerings from the imperial court until the latter part of the Muromachi period, and even in the Edo period in the event of disasters.
22 Shrines Summary
Upper 7 Shrines
Middle 7 Shrines
Lower 8 Shrines