Kami-goryo-jinja Shrine (上御霊神社)

Kami-goryo-jinja Shrine is located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City. It formerly held the rank of Prefectural Shrine. The name Kami-goryo-jinja Shrine corresponds to that of Shimo-goryo-jinja Shrine and its current formal name as a religious corporation is Goryo-jinja Shrine.

Enshrined Deity
The following eight deities known as "Hassho-goryo" are enshrined within the shrine.

The Emperor Sudo (the Imperial prince Sawara, son of Emperor Konin)

The Imperial princess Inoe (wife of Emperor Konin)
The Imperial prince Osabe (son of Emperor Konin)
Fujiwara-no-Taifujin (FUJIWARA no Hirotsugu)
Tachibana-no-Taibu (TACHIBANA no Hayanari)
Bun-no-Taibu (FUNYA no Miyatamaro)
Karaishin (the above 6 aggressive souls and also known as SUGAWARA no Michizane).

Kibi-no-Otodo (also known as KIBI no Makibi and Kibi-no-shoryo).

There are various opinions regarding the deities of the Hassho-goryo and, in addition to those given above, Imperial prince Iyo (son of Emperor Kanmmu), Lady FUJIWARA (FUJIWARA no Yoshiko, mother of Imperial prince Iyo) and an administrative inspector (FUJIWARA no Nakanari) are also considered to be included.

Aidono (subordinate altars) enshrine Saneoki OGURA, Kimitsura OGURA, Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) Tenji-no-tsubone and Noritomo OGURA, and a Wakamiya (subordinate shrine) enshrine Wako-myojin (SUGAWARA no Kazuko).

These kami (with the exception of KIBI no Makibi) all lost their lives in political struggles and this shrine was constructed in order to comfort their vengeful spirits.

Plague was rife during the reign of Emperor Kanmu. Believing it to be a curse brought by goryo (vengeful ghosts), a goryo-e (ritual to repose the souls of the dead) was held on May 20, 863 at Shinsenen in the city of Heian-Kyo. The goryo to be comforted were those of the Emperor Sudo, Imperial Prince Iyo, Lady FUJIWARA, the administrative inspector (FUJIWARA no Nakanari), TACHIBANA no Hayanari and FUNYA no Miyatamaro. It is believed that this ritual was the founding of both this shrine and Shimo-goryo-jinja Shrine.

The present Shimo-goryo-jinja Shrine was given the name Shimo-izumo-dera Temple Goryo-do Hall and this shrine was named Kami-izumo-dera Temple Goryo-do Hall. They received the deep reverence of the Imperial Court and in 1384 were awarded the highest rank Shoichii (Senior First Rank) that could be bestowed upon a shrine.

On January 18, 1467, during the Muromachi Period, the struggle between deposed Kanrei (Shogun's Deputy) Masanaga HATAKEYAMA and Yoshinari HATAKEYAMA took place in the forest within this shrine. The Goryo skirmish led to the outbreak of the Onin War in the following year and this is considered the site where the Onin War began.

There are theories that claim the actual shrine to be either Izumo-Inoe-jinja Shrine (Shikinai-taisha) or Izumo-Takano-jinja Shrine (Shikinai-shosha) which are listed in the Jimmyocho (the list of deities) of Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), but continuity is unclear and the history record held at the shrine makes no reference to these shrines from the Engishiki.

Until the Meiji period, the annual Goryo Festival was every 18th August (under the old lunisolar calendar) but is now held every 18th May. The Goryo Festival is said to be the oldest festival in Kyoto (city).


Nearest station: Take the Karasuma Line of the Kyoto Municipal Subway to Kuramaguchi Station and walk for 3 minutes.

[Original Japanese]