Omi Province (近江国)

the catalog of 'ryoseikoku' (province) > Tosando> Omi Province

Omi Province was one of the provinces, the former local administration division, and is located in Tosando. Omi Province sometimes means present Shiga Prefecture. It is sometimes called Goshu. According to the Engishiki (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), Omi Province was categorized as Taikoku (major provinces), Kingoku (provinces close to Kyoto).

The Kojiki (The Records of Ancient Matters) described it as 'Chikatsu Awaumi no kuni' and/or 'Awami no kuni.'


In early days, Omi Province was described as 'Awaumi,' 'Afumi' or 'Chikatsu Awaumi no kuni.'
The then name of Lake Biwa was used as the name of the division.

Kokufu (provincial office) was placed in Seta, Kurita County and the remains of the office were found in the present Sandaiji, Otsu City in 1964. It was the first case that the remains of a provincial office were found.

At first, the provincial monastery and nunnery in that area was Koka-dera Temple (Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture at present, the remains of 'Shigaraki no miya'),
Afterwards, the provincial monastery and nunnery was transferred to Seta Ruin Temple (Jinryo, Otsu City) and then it was transferred to the site of Kokusho-ji Temple in 820 after Seta Ruin Temple was burned down,
It is said that Saicho studied there when he was young.

In a 'mokkan' (a narrow strip of wood on which an official message is written: made after 'Taika no Kaishin' [Great Reformation of the Taika Era] till the introduction of the Ritsuryo system [a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code]) made in the period from Asuka-kyo place to Fujiwara-kyo palace, Omi Province was described as 'Chikatsu no umi' (近水海). Omi Province was sometimes described as 'Chikatsu umi' (近淡) ('umi' was dropped?).

Omi no miya (Omi-kyo palace)

Omi Province was adjacent to the Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara) and the palaces for the emperors were established three times in total.

Otsu no Miya Palace (Kyo): Emperor Tenchi - Emperor Kobun

Shigaraki no Miya Palace: Emperor Shomu

Den Hora no Miya Palace (secondary capital city): Emperor Junnin

Ichinomiya and so forth

In the Jinmyocho (the list of deities) of Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), 13 'za' and 10 'sha' of Taisha (grand shrine) and 142 'za' and 132 'sha' of Shosha (small shrine), namely, 155 'za' and 142 'sha' in total, were recorded. Taisha were as follows, and all of them were Myojin Taisha (shrine listed in Engishiki laws).

Ono-jinja Shrine (Otsu City)

Hiyoshi-jinja Shrine (present-day Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine)

Sakunado-jinja Shrine

Takebe-jinja Shrine (present-day Takebe-taisha Shrine)

Kawata-jinja Shrine

Mikami-jinja shrine

Hyozu-jinja Shrine (present-day Hyozu-taisha Shrine)

Okutsushima-jinja Shrine (present-day Okitsushima-jinja Shrine or Oshima-Okutsushima-jinja Shrine)

Ikagu-jinja Shrine

Mio-jinja shrine

Taga-tasha Shrine (In the Engishiki, 'Taga-jinja Shrine' was a Shosha.)

Although it is considered that 'Ichinomiya,' 'Ninomiya,' and 'Sannomiya' were Takebe-jinja Shrine, Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine, and Taga-taisha Shrine or Mikami-jinja Shrine, respectively, it is probable that Hiyoshi-jinja Shrine, which was deeply related with Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei, actually had a strong power.

[Original Japanese]