Omoikane (オモイカネ)

Omoikane is a god who appears in the Japanese mythology. The kanji used for Omoikane are 思金神 or 常世思金神 in the "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters), 思兼神 in the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), and 思金神, 常世思金神, 思兼神, 八意思兼神 or 八意思金神 in the "Sendai Kujihongi" (Ancient Japanese History). Omoikane is the god of wisdom and talent.

According to Atsutane HIRATA, a scholar of Japanese classical literature in the later Edo period, Omoikane refers to Amenokoyane no Mikoto.


Omoikane is said to be the child of Takamimusubi, but according to some descriptions, it is the god of Tokoyo (the perpetual country). The name Omoikane consists of 'omoi' (meaning discretion) and 'kane' (meaning combine). Thus, the name represents a god who combines a lot of people's discretion. Omoikane is a deified form of thoughts, intellection and wisdom. Yagokoro (八意) means a lot of wisdom, or thinking from someone else's standpoint. Omoikane can be said to be the pearls of wisdom in Takamagahara (plain of high heaven).

The most famous episode about Omoikane is that at the time of Iwato-gakure (the hiding of Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, in the heavenly rock cave), Omoikane gave Yao yorozu no Kami (eight million gods) who gathered at Ama-no-Yasuharae the wisdom to let Amaterasu go outside the rock cave. When Ashihara no Nakatsukuni (literally, "Central Land of Reed Plains," which refers to the human world) was pacified, Omoikane selected the god to be sent to Ashihara no Nakatsukuni. Afterward, in the tensonkorin (the descent to earth of the grandson of the sun goddess), Omoikane accompanied Ninigi (god who was sent to settle the ground of Japan).

In the Sendai Kujihongi (Ancient Japanese History), Omoikane is said to have settled in the Shinano Province and become the founder of 信之阿智祝. Also, Omoikane is said to be the founder of Chichibunokuni no miyatsuko.

Omoikane is professed as a god of wisdom, literature and entrance examinations. Omoikane is enshrined in Chichibu-jinja Shrine (Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture), Achi-jinja Shrine (Achi-mura, Shimoina-gun, Nagano Prefecture), and other shrines. Also enshrined in Kisho-jinja Shrine (Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolitan), the only shrine of weather.

In addition, Omoikane is also regarded to be the god who is enshrined at the Chonahajime ceremony (a traditional ceremony in which people wish carpenters' safety) for the erection of the framework of a house. The two gods of Taokihooi no Mikoto and Hikosashiri no Mikoto, as well as local Ubusunagami (guardian deity of one's birthplace) or Omoikane are enshrined in the ceremony.

Shrines dedicated to Omoikane

Chichibu-jinja Shrine (Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture)
Achi-jinja Shrine (Achi-mura, Shimoina-gun, Nagano Prefecture)
Afuchi-jinja Shrine (Achi-mura, Shimoina-gun, Nagano Prefecture)
Togakushi-jinja Chusha Shrine (Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture)
Omoikane-jinja Shrine (Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture)
Jishu-jinja Shrine (Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City) *Not enshrined as shusaijin (main enshrined deities) but as Aidono no Kami (god enshrined where there are two or more deities in one building of a shrine)
Kisho-jinja Shrine (Koenji Hikawa-jinja Keidai-sha Shrine) (Suginami Ward, Tokyo)
Takahama-jinja Shrine (Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture) * Enshrined together

[Original Japanese]