Ikomanimasuikomatsuhiko-jinja Shrine (往馬坐伊古麻都比古神社)
Ikomanimasuikomatsuhiko-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture. It is a Shikinai-sha (shrine listed in the Engishiki laws) and was classified as a prefectural shrine (of prefectures other than Kyoto and Osaka) under the old shrine classification system. It is also referred to as Ikoma-taisha Shrine, and its common name is Ikoma-jinja Shrine.
The enshrined deities are Ikomatsuhikonokami, Ikomatsuhimenokami (the gods of Mt. Ikoma), Okinagatarashihime no Mikoto (the Empress Jingu), Tarashinakatsuhiko no Mikoto (the Emperor Chuai), Homutawake no Mikoto (the Emperor Ojin), Katsuraginotakanukahime no Mikoto (the mother of the Empress Jingu) and Okinaga no sukune no Miko (the father of the Empress Jingu).
Ikomatsuhikonokami and Ikomatsuhimenokami have been worshiped as the gods that preside over fire since ancient times. This shrine has presented Hikirigi (the wood piece for ignition) used as the tool to ignite a sacred fire in the Daijo-sai festival (a festival to celebrate the succession of an emperor) for generations. A Hikirigi presented by this shrine was also used in the Daijo-sai festival of the present Emperor.
Books such as "Hokuzansho" (a representative book of ceremonies for the Heian period written by FUJIWARA no Kinto), "Genyoki" (a history book that is believed to have been written in the Kamakura period) and "Kisoki" (an abbreviation of "Shinsen kisoki," the oldest book about kiboku (tortoise-shell divination)) describe the gods of this shrine as 'the gods of Hikirigi.'
The reisai (regular festival) of the shrine is referred to as 'Fire God Festival' that has been held on the second Sunday of October, but it was originally held on October 10. The Imperial Court has revered the Fire God Festival, the Wind God Festival of Tatsuta-taisha Shrine and the Water God Festival of Hirose-taisha Shrine since ancient times.
The year of its founding is unknown. However, it is believed to have originated from the fact that Mt. Ikoma was worshiped as Shintaizan (a mountain where the spirit of deity is traditionally believed to dwell) by those who settled there in ancient times.
The oldest record in the literature can be found in the paragraph of the year 458 of "Sokokufudoki" (an ancient record of Japan), in which it is referred to as 'Ikomatsuhiko-jinja Shrine.'
Two deities of Ikomanimasuikomatsuhiko-jinja Shrine' in Hegurino-kori in Yamato Province are entered on Jinmyocho (the list of deities) of Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers). The Jinmyocho of Engishiki states that it was classified as a taisha (grand shrine) and was given hohei (offering of a wand with hemp and paper streamers to a Shinto god) in a Tsukinami-sai festival (a 'monthly' festival held in the Imperial Court, but actually only on two months of the year) and a Niiname-sai festival (ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly-harvested rice to the deities).
As people came to believe enthusiastically in Hachimanshin (God of War) in the Kamakura period, five gods related to Hachimanshin were enshrined together in this shrine.
The honden (main shrine) consisting of seven portions is built in the kasuga-zukuri style (a style of shrine architecture employed in main sanctuaries, that has the same basic form as that at Kasuga Taisha Shrine) behind the haiden (a hall of worship), and it is roofed with the bark of hinoki, Japanese cypress. Ikomatsuhiko (another name of Ikomatsuhikonokami) is enshrined in the middle, and Ikomatsuhime no Mikoto (another name of Ikomatsuhimenokami) is enshrined on its right side. Starting from the left, the enshrined deities are Okinaga sukune o no Mikoto (another name of Okinaga no sukune no Miko), Okinagatarashihime no Mikoto, Homutawake no Mikoto, Ikomatsuhiko, Ikomatsuhime no Mikoto, Tarashinakatsuhiko no Mikoto and Katsuraginotakanukahime no Mikoto.