Atago-jinja Shrine (Kyoto City) (愛宕神社 (京都市))

Atago-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. The shrine is situated on the summit of Mt. Atago (Kyoto City, 924 m) which straddles what was the border between Yamashiro Province and Tanba Province. It was listed in the Register of Deities of the Engishiki and was ranked as a Fusha (prefectural shrine) under the old shrine classification system. It is the Grand Head Shrine of the approximately 900 Atago-jinja Shrines throughout Japan. The name "Atago-jinja Shrine" was formerly written using different characters and is now commonly known as "Atago-san."

Since ancient times, the shrine has been worshipped along with Mt. Hiei. It has also long been known as a shrine with the miraculous ability to prevent fires. It is said that worshipping at the shrine before the age of 3 years will grant protection from fire for one's entire life.
There are also Kamigata Rakugo (traditional Japanese comic storytelling as performed in the Kyoto-Osaka region) stories named 'Atagoyama (Rakugo)' and 'Irachi no Atago-mairi.'

It would not be an exaggeration to state that the kitchens of most households in Kyoto have a strip of paper from Atago-jinja Shrine with the characters 'hi no yo jin' (lit. be careful with fire) written on it and these are also found in many restaurant kitchens and company tearooms.

The following deities are currently enshrined at Atago-jinja Shrine.

Main hall: Izanami (Izanamino mikoto), Haniyasu (Haniyasuhimeno kami), Amenokumahitono mikoto, Wakumusubi (Wakumusubino kami), Toyoukebime (Toyoukehimeno mikoto)
Wakamiya: Ikazuchino kami, Kagutsuchi (Kagutsuchino mikoto), Hamushino kami

It is said that Hakuun-ji Temple was founded between 701 and 704 by Enno Ozuno, considered to be the founder of Shugendo (mountain ascetism), and Taicho, know founder of the sacred site of Mt. Hakusan, before being restored by Keishun Sozu in 781 and constructed by WAKE no Kiyomaro to enshrine Atago Daigongen on Mt. Atago. In the 9th century the site became a place of joint Shinto and Buddhist Shugendo and a Shogun Jizo statue representing Atago Daigongen was enshrined in the main hall while Tarobo, the Tengu goblin of Mt. Atago, was enshrined in the Oku-no-in (the present-day Wakamiya).

Following the death of the Emperor Konoe during the Heian period at the time when Cloistered Emperor Toba attempted to assist his nephew Imperial Prince Shigehito to ascend the throne, the prince's father, Retired Emperor Sutoku, ordered FUJIWARA no Yorinaga to perform a curse at Atago-jinja Shrine and rumors spread that it was this curse that killed the emperor. This enraged Cloistered Emperor Toba who enthroned the Emperor Goshirakawa in place of the prince, and this event is believed to have led to the Hogen Disturbance.

In June 1582, Mitsuhide AKECHI confined himself to Atago-jinja Shrine to pray for victory where he drew omikuji lots to determine whether or not he should attach Nobunaga ODA at Honno-ji Temple, and it is said that after three lots predicting misfortune, the fourth predicted good luck. On the following day, he held a renga poetry session at the shrine and it is said that the first poem that he recited, 'Toki wa ima/Ame ga shitashiru/Satsukikana' (literally, "Now is the time/Rain is falling/This is May"), concealed within its words his intention to attack.

The separation of Shinto and Buddhism during the Meiji perod led to the closure of Hakuun-ji Temple (which included the priest's quarters such as Shochi-in, Kyogaku-in, Daizen-in, Itoku-in, Fukuju-in) and the site became Atago-jinja Shrine. The Shogun Jizo statue was relocated to Kinzo-ji Temple in Oharano, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto City. Atago-jinja Shrine was classified as a Fusha in 1881. Following the Second World War, the Association of Shinto Shrines made it beppyo jinja (a special list shrine).

During the Meiji period, numerous tea stalls lined the path to the shrine and these thrived by offering somewhere to rest or selling clay disks (called kawarakenage) on which a wish is written and then thrown. Tired guests were also treated to sweet shinko (dumplings made from powered rice).

Between 1929 and 1944, the Atagoyama Railways flat line (railway) and cable car were created to form a route connecting the shrine to Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Electric Railways) on the Keifuku Electric Railways Arashiyama Main Line. There was once a hotel, an amusement park and a ski slope (behind the shrine. The quality of the snow was surprisingly good and it is said to have been popular among skiers) on Mt. Atago, making it something of a mountain resort like Mt. Hiei, but these were removed by the wartime regime. After the Second World War, it once again became a mountain of worship, and the cable car and other facilities were not rebuilt. It is for this reason that even today Atago-jinja Shrine can only be reached by walking up the mountain from Kiyotaki or Mizuo (taking approximately 2 hours to ascend and 1.5 hours to descend). Although there are benches and places to rest, there are no tea stalls or shops and the only drinks that can be purchased are cans from the vending machine at the shrine office. It could be said that it is more inconvenient now than it was during the Meiji period.

Main events

Chinka-sai (April 24)
Sennichi tsuya-sai (from evening of July 31 to early morning of August 1: Commonly called (Sennichi-mairi)
It is believed that visiting the shrine at this time will grant 1,000 days of protection from fire.

Hiusu-matsuri (on the day of boar of November (early November))

[Original Japanese]