Matsunoo-taisha Shrine (松尾大社)

Matsunoo-taisha Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nishigyo Ward, Kyoto City. It was listed in the Register of Deities of the Engishiki and was one of the Twenty-Two Shrines and was ranked as a Kanpei Taisha (large-scale state shrine) under the old shrine classification system. The shrine was formerly named Matsunoo-jinja Shrine.

The deities Oyamakuino-kami and Nakatsushimahimeno-mikoto are enshrined. It is thought that Nakatsushimahimeno-mikoto is an alternative name for Ichikishimahime but there are alternative theories.

The old site of Matsunoo-taisha Shrine is on Mt. Matsuo (Kyoto Prefecture) (223 m), located to its rear, and there is a large rock that is thought to be an iwakura (a rock where a kami is invited to descend) in Osugidani Valley near to the summit. In the 5th century, the Hata clan immigrated to Japan where they settled in Yamashiro Province and took the Mt. Matsuo kami (Oyamakuino-kami) as their ujigami (guardian deity). From the description given in "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) stating that 'Oyamakuino-kami is another name for Yamasueno Onushino Kami. The male kami resides at Hie-no-yama in Chikatsu Omi-no-kuni and Kazu-no-Matsunoo and uses a nari-kabura (singing arrow),' it is known that this deity was highly influential at the time that Kojiki was compiled.

In the year 701, HATA no Imikitori constructed shrine buildings on the current site to which he brought divine spirits from the iwakura near the summit of the mountain, and allowed his daughter to serve as priestess. Members of the Hata clan continued to serve as head priests at the shrine until hereditary Shinto priesthood was prohibited in the early Meiji period.

The relocation of the capital to the city to Heian-kyo made the kami enshrined at the shrine highly revered as a guardian of the imperial palace, and it became equal in status to the deity of Kamo-jinja Shrine. The shrine is classified as a Myojin Taisha (a grand shrine enshrines a high-ranked deity) in the "Engishiki" (procedures of the Engi era) and it later became one of the Twenty-Two Shrines.

In 1871, the shrine was classified as a Kanpei Taisha under the former modern shrine classification system before becoming a Beppyo Jinja (Shrines on the Special List) after the Second World War. The name of the shrine was changed to Matsunoo-taisha Shrine in 1950.

Since the middle ages, the deity at Matsunoo-taisha Shrine has been worshipped as the god of rice-wine production as it was the Hata clan that brought rice-wine brewing technology to Japan.

Shrine buildings
The main shrine and its auxiliary/subsidiary shrines Shi-no-Okami-jinja Shrine, Koromode-jinja Shrine, San-no-miya-jinja Shrine, Munakata-jinja Shrine (Ichikishimahimeno Mikoto), Ichitani-jinja Shrine (Munakata Sanjojin) and Tsukuyomi-jinja Shrine (Kyoto City) are collectively known as the "Matsunoo Nana-sha" (lit. Seven Shrines of Matsunoo). Of these, Tsukuyomi-jinja Shrine and Ichitani-jinja Shrine (now combined with Munakata-jinja Shrine and known as Ichitani Munakata-jinja Shrine) are listed in the Register of Deities of the Engishiki (procedures of the Engi era).

Cultural properties

Important Cultural Properties
Main Sanctuary
The current building was constructed in 1397 and the roof features a form of the ryonagare-zukuri style (gable roof which has a long, flowing, curved roof lines on both the front and rear slopes) which is referred to as Matsunoo-zukuri.

3 wooden god statues (2 male and 1 female)

[Original Japanese]