Iwashimizu- Hachimangu Shrine (石清水八幡宮)

Iwashimizu- Hachimangu Shrine is a Shrine located on top of Mt. Otokoyama in Yawata City, Kyoto. It is considered one of three great Hachimangu Shrines in Japan along with Usa Jingu Shrine, etc. This Shrine is in one of the Upper Seven Shrines of the Twenty-Two Shrines and in the old days was considered a Kanpei Taisha. 9 structures including the main shrine are designated as important cultural property in Japan.

This Shrine is also considered as second national sobyo (Mausoleum) after Ise Jingu Shrine.

Deity of the Shrine
The following three gods are enshrined and are collectively called "Hachiman-shin"

1. Naka no gozen - Hondawake-no- mikoto (The 15th Emperor Ojin)
2. Nishi no gozen (Hime-no-kami, Munakata Sanjojin)
3. Higashi no gozen - Okinagatarashi-hime-no-mikoto (Empress Jingu)

It was in the summer of 859, one year after Emperor Seiwa came to power, when a monk named Gyokyo from Nanto Daianji Temple, a disciple of Kobo-Daishi Kukai visited Usa Jungu Shrine and received a message from God informing him to move the God to near Kyoto City, on the top of Mt. Otokoyama, to guard the nation. In 860, the year following the year that Gyokyo received this message from God, Emperor Seiwa ordered construction of the building of the Shrine, which is considered to be the start of the Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine. Name of the Shrine, "Iwashimizu," is taken from Iwashimizu-sha (now a Sessha of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Temple), which used to be located on Mt. Otokoyama.

From then on, the Shrine has been devotedly worshiped by the imperial family/imperial court, as the god protecting the imperial palace, the god of royal powers/water transport, that protect Urakimon located at south west of Kyoto, facing Mt. Hiei Enryaku-ji Temple, and visits by Emperors/ Retired Emperors/Monk Emperors to the Shrine amount to more than 250.

This Shrine was also worshiped as guardian deity by Genji, as well as by many Kawachi Genji families among Seiwa Genji, such as the Ashikaga, Tokugawa, Imagawa, and Takeda clans, and was thus respected as the god of fighting, archery and victory.

MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi, father of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie underwent the Genpuku ceremony at the age of seven in Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine and was renamed Hachimantaro, and Tsuboi Hachimangu Shrine, which was made the guardian deity of the Kawachi Genji clan by him, was separated from Iwashimizu Hachimangu and moved to to Tsuboi, Ishikawa district in the Kawachi Province (currently Tsuboi, Habikino City, Osaka) which was the headquarters of the Genji clan. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine of Kamakura is located in Tsurugaoka Wakamiya, which was separated and moved from Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine (or Tsuboi Hachimangu Shrine) by MINAMOTONO no Yoriyoshi, and was initiated when MINAMOTO no Yoritomo moved Tsurugaoka Wakamiya to its current location upon the start of his Shogunate.

From its establishment completion untill the end of Tokugawa Shogunate period, the shrine was a shinto shrine of shinbutsu shugo and was called Iwashimizu Hachimangu Gokokuji Temple, and the shrine is deeply and historically related to many temples such as To-ji (Kyo-o-gokoku-ji), Kiyomizu Temple, Ninna Temple, Rokuon-ji Temple (Shokoku-ji Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Ginkakuji-Temple). Ise Heishi, who are considered to be the opposition of Kawachi Genji, also respected this shrine, and there is a record of TAIRA no Masamori who contributed in building of the shrine, and there are also records of TAIRA no Kiyomori and other main members of Ise Heishi, who performed Maijin at Rinjisai festival of Hachimangu.

Before Meiji Government introduced Shinbutsu bunri in 1868, many temples including Gokoku-ji Temple, Gokuraku-ji Temple and Bentendo, used to offer accommodation for pilgrimages and were called "Otokoyama 48 bo," and Shojo SHOKADO, who was one of the monks serving Hachiman Daibosatsu, was also known as one of the three best calligraphers in Kanei period.

In 1868, Hachiman Daibosatsu was forbidden by the Meiji government because of its strong Buddhist influence. Hojoe of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu were changed to Chushusai.

In 1871 the shrine became Kanpe Taisya and was renamed "Otokoyama Hachimangu " and resumed the name of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine in 1918.

Many people come from all parts of Japan to pray for good luck, victory, business success and a safe year for the family, including in recent years, Konosuke MATSUSHITA, founder of Panasonic corporation and referred to as "the God of Business," who respected this Shrine deeply.

The Iwashimizu Festival, Hojoe (one of Japanese three major Chokusai along with the Aoi Festival and the Kasuga Festival) are held on 15th September.

Shrines inside/outside Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine

Kora Shrine, Aizuchi Shrine, Iwashimizusha, Otobira inarisha, Sanmyo Shrine, Mikumarisha, Hirotasha, Ikutasha, Nagatasha, Sumiyoshisha, Ichidosha, Tatsutasha, Kibunesha, Wakamiyasha, Wakamiyadensha, Kehisha, Mizuwakamiyasha and so on.

Other facilities Seiunryo, Restaurant Sekisuitei, Monument of Thomas Edison, Kyurei tea room, Youth orientated cultural and physical education centre (Nampokan accommodation), Kyuhoan (tea room), Seihoden (function room, meeting room, bar) and so on).

Cultural heritage
Historical buildings
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine main shrine and outside shrine"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine Heiden and Maiden"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine Romon"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine East gate"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine West gate"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine Cloister" (between Romon and East gate)
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine Cloister" (between Romon and West gate"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine Cloister" (back side)
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine Gorinto"

Arts and Crafts
Important cultural property "Stone lantern" Kamakura period
Important cultural property "A wooden seated statue of Dogyoshin"

Books, ancient documents

Important cultural property "Iwashimizu Hachimangu Gokokuji Ryakki"
Important cultural property "Ruiju Kokuki volume 1 and volume 5"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu hachimangu TANAKA Sohei Ganbun"
Important cultural property "Iwashimizu hachimangu Monjo" Heian - Kamakura - Muromachi - Momoyama - Edo period.

Stories associated with the shrine

Tsurezuregusa essay No. 52 "A monk at Ninnaji Temple"
An old monk at Ninnaji Temple wanted to visit Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine once in his life time. One day his wish came true and he visited the shrine, however he only visited Kora Shrine and Gokurakuji Temple at the bottom of the mountain, believing that they were Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, not realizing that people were climbing up higher to get to Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine. This story teaches that you need to have a proper guide to lead you to the right direction, however small the matter is, and is often introduced to students in Junior High School. To appreciate this story, you may need to know that the main shrine of Iwashimizu Hachimangu shrine is on top of Mt. Otokoyama and the Setsumatsusha shrine at the bottom of the mountain is also of magnificent time.

Konjaku Monogatarishu


Train access - take a train from Keihan Yawata-shi station on Keihan Cable line, get off at Otokoyama yamanoue station.

Parking available (however it is not easy to spot as you need to go through a residential area at the west side).


Image of Iwashimizu, hachimangu 01s3000, in front of bamboo bush
Image of Iwashimizu, hachimangu03s3000, a stone lantern in front of main shrine
Image of Iwashimizu hachimangu, main shrine

Area information

Shinno-ji Temple (Yawata city)
Shobo-ji Temple (Yawata city)
Hiko Shrine

[Original Japanese]