Hirano-jinja Shrine (平野神社)

Hirano-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Kita Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is listed in the Register of Deities of the Engishiki (as a Myojin Taisha) and was ranked as a Kanpei Taisha (large-scale state shrine) under the old shrine classification system.

Enshrined Deities
Hirano-jinja Shrine enshrines the following four deities:

Imaki no kami (in the first hall): The god of textile dying, handicrafts and garments
Kudo no kami (in the second hall): The god of cooking stoves, kitchens and meals
Fukuraki no kami (in the third hall): The god of imibi (the fire used to cook offerings presented to a Shinto kami)
Hime no kami (in the fourth hall): Thought to be TAKANO no Niigasa, the Empress of the Emperor Konin

The word 'Imaki' is derived from a homonym written using different characters and indicates that the enshrined deity is that of a visitor from the ancient Korean kingdom of Baekje. TAKANO no Niigasa was also a foreign settler.

Hirano-jinja Shrine was founded in the year 794 when the capital city was relocated to Heian-kyo by Emperor Kanmu and the deities Imaki, Kudo and Fukuraki were separated and transferred from the city of Heijo-kyo.
Imaki no kami was originally enshrined at Tamurakokyu and Kudo no kami and Fukuraki no kami were originally enshrined at the Kudo-jinja Shrine (listed in the Register of Deities of the Engishiki) in Heiguri County, Yamato Province
Hime no kami was enshrined at Hirano-jinja Shrine during the Jowa era (834-848).

"Nihon Montoku Tenno Jitsuroku" (The True History of Emperor Montoku of Japan) refers to this shrine by the name "Hirano-jinja" and describes that in the year 851, Imaki no kami was given the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank), Kudo no kami and Fukuraki no kami the rank of Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank), and Hime no kami the rank of Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank). These ranks later increased and Imaki no kami was bestowed the highest rank of Shoichii (Senior First Rank) in the year 859. The Jinmyocho (the list of deities) of Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) lists the shrine as 'Hirano Saijin Shisha, Kadono County, Yamashiro Province' and classifies it as a Myojin Taisha (until 2005, the torii gate tablet read 'Hirano Taisha'). The titles 'Hirano no Okami' and 'Sume Omikami' are also used for the enshrined deities.

The regular Hirano-matsuri Festival began the custom of the Crown Price making offerings such a paper, silk and rope. Hirano-jinja Shrine, recorded to have been visited on 21 occasions by 17 successive emperors from Emperor Enyu to Emperor Godaigo, was highly revered by the Imperial Family and the enshrined deities also became patron gods of court nobles including the Minamoto clan, Taira clan, Oe clan and Sugawara clan. In the middle ages, it became one of The Twenty Two Shrines.

The shrine's crest is the cheery blossom and today the site is still renowned for its cherry blossom trees. These are derived from the 1,000 cherry trees that were planted in the shrine grounds by Emperor Kazan in the mid Heian period and the lavish festival held by Imperial order on the 10th day of the 4th month of 985 continues today as the Hirano Sakura-matsuri Festival.

The shrine's buildings have been repeatedly destroyed by fire, including during the Onin War, and were rebuilt each time but it is said that the Tenbun Hokke War plunged all of the shrine's buildings and land into complete ruin.

The shrine was designated a Kanpei Taisha in 1871.

The current buildings were constructed in the Kanei era (1624-1643) during the Edo period. There are four Kasuga Taisha Shrine style one-bay sanctuaries joined in pairs in a unique design known as 'Hiyoku Kasuga-zukuri' or 'Hirano-zukuri' after the name of the shrine. Designated Important Cultural Properties.

[Original Japanese]