Ikaruga-jinja Shrine (斑鳩神社)

Ikaruga-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Ikoma-gun, Nara Prefecture. It is located on Mt. Tenma to the north east of Horyu-ji Temple and enshrines SUGAWARA no Michizane. The shrine was one of the four chinju-sha shrines (Shinto shrine on Buddhist temple grounds dedicated to the tutelary deity of the area) of Horyu-ji Temple and regarded as a guardian god which protected against Kimon (the northeastern (unlucky) direction, person or thing to be avoided) for the temple, and even today, it has close ties to Horyu-ji Temple.

There is a written record that during the Tengyo era (938-947), Tansho, the chief priest of Horyu-ji Temple and member of Sugawara clan, first enshrined SUGAWARA no Michizane before a priest named Keiyu constructed the main building of the shrine in 1324. The shrine was originally located at the western base of Mt. Tenma and had a hall called Nyoho Kyodo (the Sutra Hall) in its precinct, but it was burned down during Kanbun era (1661-1672). It is said that after the reconstruction of the shrine building in 1668, it was moved to the top of the same mountain in 1725 where it stands today due to a flood disaster. In 1869, Sosha Myojin, Gosho Myojin and Hakusan Gongen, which were enshrined in the precinct of Horyu-ji Temple, were transferred to the shrine to be re-enshrined.

Shrine buildings in the precinct
Sosha Myojin used to be enshrined to the northwest of Horyu-ji Temple, the building of which was constructed in 1153.

Gosho Myojin are the Grand Guardian Gods of Toin (East Precinct) of Horyu-ji Temple which are said to have been first enshrined in 1218, and the Gods enshrined there are Sumiyoshi God and four Kasuga Gods. There is also a theory that Gosho Myojin were identified as five Gods of Heguri-jinja Shrine located in Heguri-gun in "Engishiki jinmyocho" (a register of shrines in Japan).

The waniguchi (a metal gong hanging at the front of hall in a temple) in Kanno-do hall located in Murotsu, Yamazoe-mura, Nara Prefecture originally belonged to Ikaruga-jinja Shrine, and it has an inscription of the year 1437.

[Original Japanese]