Goo-jinja Shrine (護王神社)

Goo-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City. The shrine was ranked as a bekkaku kanpeisha (a special government shrine) under the old shrine classification system. It is also known as Kosodate Myojin (lit. Child-raising Shrine).

The main deities are WAKE no Hiromushi and his elder sister, WAKE no Kiyomaro, who are enshrined along with FUJIWARA no Momokawa and MICHI no Toyonaga.

Goo-jinja Shrine was built within the precinct of Takao Jingo-ji Temple by the Wake family and began as the mausoleum (Goozenjin-do Hall) of WAKE no Kiyomaro. The precise date of its founding is unknown.

WAKE no Kiyomaro's elder sister Hiromushi continued to protect the Imperial Family even after being exiled following the Usa Hachiman-gu Shrine oracle plot. The Emperor Komei praised her deeds and, in 1851, he granted the mausoleum of WAKE no Kiyomaro the shrine name 'Goo-jinja Shrine' and the highest possible rank of Shoichii (Senior First Rank). In 1874, Goozenjin-do Hall was converted into a Goo-jinja Shrine and classified as a bekkaku kanpeisha. Under the order of the Emperor Meiji, the shrine was relocated to the former Nakanoin family estate (current site) in front of the Hamaguri-gomon gate of the Kyoto Imperial Garden in 1886.

Hiromushi was enshrined at Goo-jinja Shrine when the Emperor Taisho ascended to the throne in 1915. The shrine became known as 'Kosodate Myojin' (lit. Child-raising Shrine) as Hiromushi was known for the work that she did to help orphans.

Goo-jinja Shrine and wild boars

In 1890, the koma-inu (guardian dog statues) were replaced by 'koma-inoshishi' (guardian wild boar statues), and the shrine is also familiarly known as 'Inoshishi-jinja' (lit. Wild Boar Shrine) after the legend that WAKE no Kiyomaro was saved by a 300-headed wild boar when, after being exiled to Usa, he was attacked by an assassin sent by Dokyo. It is for this reason that the shrine experiences yearly increases in the number of visitors born in the year of the boar. In addition to the koma-inoshishi statues, there are also other wild boar related objects within the shrine grounds.

The 10-yen banknotes issued in Japan between 1890 and 1945 all featured images of WAKE no Kiyomaro and Goo-jinja Shrine, with the border pattern of the face those issued in 1890 incorporating a 8 small wild boars, and those issued in 1899 featuring a single large wild boar.
Wild boars were no longer used on 10-yen notes issued after 1915 but those featuring a portrait of WAKE no Kiyomaro were long since colloquially referred to as 'Inoshishi.'

[Original Japanese]