Ayatokunaka-jinja Shrine (綾戸国中神社)

Ayatokunaka-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Minami Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The Gion Festival is held by Yasaka-jinja Shrine and Ayatokunaka-jinja Shrine.

It was originally the two separate shrines Ayato-jinja Shrine and Kunaka-jinja Shrine but Kunaka-jinja Shrine was later relocated into the precinct of Ayato-jinja Shrine. Following this, the shrine consisted of two buildings but these were destroyed by a typhoon in 1934 and rebuilt as a single building in 1936. The shrine was relocated to its current location after the precinct was scheduled as a site for the construction of the Tokaido Shinkansen in 1964.

Ayato-jinja Shrine
Enshrines Oayatsuhi no kami, Onaohi no kami and Kamunaoni no kami. Said to have been constructed in 521 and was previous named Oi-sha Shrine after the harai-gami of Oi-gawa River (Katsura-gawa River (Yodo-gawa River system)) but was renamed Ayato-sha Shrine in the year 995. However, it was still referred to by the name 'Oi-sha Shrine' until modern times. Since ancient times, the shrine has been worshipped for the guardian deity of Kamikuze.

It is thought to be either 'Mata-jinja Shrine in Otokuni-County, Yamashiro Province' or 'Oi-jinja Shrine' which are listed in the Jinmyocho (Register of Deities) of the Engishiki (procedures of the Engi era).

Kunaka-jinja Shrine
Enshrines Susanoo.

According to shrine legend, when the entire surrounding area was covered by a lake, Susanoo no mikoto descended and drained the water, after which the shrine was established when a carving of the head of his favorite horse was enshrined at the center of the site.

It is thought to be 'Kunaka-jinja Shrine in Otokuni-County, Yamashiro Province' which is listed in the Jinmyocho (Register of Deities) of the Engishiki (procedures of the Engi era).

The Gion Festival Kuze Komagata chigo are chosen from the parishioners of Ayatokunaka-jinja Shrine. Kuze Komagata chigo are children who ride on horseback as they lead the Nakagoza mikoshi (portable shrine) enshrining Susanoo no mikoto and carry around their necks the object of worship of Kunaka-jinja Shrine, a horse head carved out of wood (komagata), in the Shinko-sai and Kanko-sai rituals.

[Original Japanese]