Munakata-jinja Shrine (Kyoto City) (宗像神社 (京都市))

Munakata-jinja Shrine is a shrine located in the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The shrine belongs to Kokushigenzaisha and its old classification of shrines was the {Kindai shakaku seido} (Modern shrine ranking system).

Enshrined deities

The shrine enshrines Munakata Sanjojin as its shusaijin (main enshrined deities) and the following five gods:

Amanoiwatobiraki no kami

"Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (sixth of the six classical Japanese history texts) had a record that the shusaijin of this shrine was the same god as the one of Munakata-jinja Shrine, Chikuzen Province (present Munakata Taisha Shrine) and only the place of enshrinement was different, or that it was a completely different shrine, though it enshrined the same god.

The associate god, Amanoiwatobiraki no kami, was also enshrined together with Kokushigenzaisha (Amanoiwatowake no kami) and according to "the family record of the Kazanin family" (quoted from "Yamashiro Meishoshi"), before they were enshrined together, the gods were Amanoiwatowake no kami, and a large stone with spirit, and the Ukanomitama no kami was enshrined together by FUJIWARA no Tokihira.

Currently, the shrine attracts people's faith in hoyoke, the protection for removing calamities related to direction, as it is located in the southwest of Kyoto Gyoen (back demon's gate).


According to the shrine's biography, FUJIWARA no Fuyutsugu received an imperial order from Emperor Kanmu in 795 and made a branch shrine of Chikuzen Munakata deity as a guardian god of the royal palace, and enshrined it at the southwest corner of his own house, Tokyo-tei (Tokyo Ichijo-tei), and the oldest record of the enshrinement place is found in "Doyuki." Though the Tokyo-tei was divided into two, an east Kazan-in and a west Koichijo-tei (mansion), after Fuyutsugu died, "Doyuki" had the following story by FUJIWARA no Moronari, the head of the Koichijo-tei at that time.

The Koichijo-tei was the house that FUJIWARA no Uchimaro bought and gave to his son, Fuyutsugu, because when Fuyutsugu was an udoneri (ministerial equerry), on his way to sandai (a visit to the Imperial Palace), he was called on by Munakata no Okami from the (empty) sky and received an oracle that if he asked his father to buy him the Koichijo-tei and lived there and enshrined the Munakata no Okami near by, he will be protecting his children's children.

And it is said that the Amanoiwatowake no kami was also enshrined in the northeast corner of the mansion but the history of it is unknown.

The Tokyo-tei was where Emperor Seiwa (his mother was FUJIWARA no Akira Keiko (Somedono no Kisaki) was born in 850, so it was honored as the Ubugami (birth gods) and the Ubusunagami (guardian deity of one's birthplace), and next year of the emperor's enthronement in 859, Shonii (Senior Second Rank) was given to Munakata Sanjojin (promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) later), and in 865, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) was also given to Amanoiwatowake no kami, the shrine in the same mansion, and on May 19 of the same year, a shield, a pike, and a saddle were dedicated to the shrine but this dedication was not recorded in "Jinmyocho (the list of deities) of Engishiki" (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers). After that, Ukanomitama no kami was enshrined together in the generation of FUJIWARA no Tokihira and, in 1131, when FUJIWARA no Ietada was given Kazan-in (Koichijo-tei was also called 'Kazan-in' since Emperor Hanayama made it as his palace) from his father, Morosane, and founded the Kazanin family, Amanoiwatowake no kami was also enshrined together as a guardian god of the family, and it was first ranked as an official shrine in 1275.

The shrine was burned down in the battle of the Onin War but it was rebuilt later and did not changed its place of enshrinement even after the Kazan-in family moved to another place and the surrounding area went through a transition to Kugemachi (court noble village), and it was finally enshrined in the Imperial Gardens due to the transfer of the capital to Tokyo by Emperor Meiji and it was ranked as a fusha (a prefectural shrine) in 1875. The shrine has belonged to the Jinja-Honcho (the Association of Shinto Shrines) after World War II.

Shinkai (ranks granted to Shinto gods)

Three deities of Munakata-jinja Shrine were in Junii (Junior Second Rank) Kun hachito on April 10, 859, and promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) on the same day and to one higher rank to Juichii (Junior First Rank) in November 17, 864 (according to "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku") and in 1275, it is decided that Shido no kanpei (Kinensai (prayer service for a good crop), Tsukinami-sai Festival, Niiname-sai festival (ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly-harvested rice to the deities) was given to the shrine (according to "Shoshinki").

Amanoiwatowake no kami was ranked to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) from no rank on April 24, 865 ("Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku").

In this connection, "Okagami" (The Great Mirror) and "Teio Hennen ki" (the Chronicle of emperors) recorded one setsuwa (anecdote) that FUJIWARA no Yoshifusa, son of Fuyutsugu, was always talking with Munakata gods and arranged to promote their shini (deity) because they always apologized for being lower in rank than Yoshifusa.

Shrine priesthood

The shrine had been enshrined by people in the Kazanin family as its betto (the superintendent) from when the family received Kazanin down to the Meiji period.

Main building of the shrine

The architectural style of the main building of the shrine is known as the Nagare-zukuri style (a style of shrine architecture) with Hiwadabuki, the roofing made of cypress bark.

Shrines in precincts

Hanei Inari-sha Shrine
This shrine enshrines Myobu Inari no kami. In "the family record of the Kazanin family," it is written that the shrine was enshrined by FUJIWARA no Mototsune, an adopted child of Yoshifusa, as an guardian god, but in "Doyuki" above, the following story was recorded as a continued story by Moronari; when Shosenko (posthumous name as Daijo Daijin), Mototsune, was in a low position, he saw a fox being beaten by several people so he asked them to give the fox to him and he released it, and the fox appeared in his dream and pledged to remove disasters such as fire if he gave it a place to live, so he gave the fox the present place of enshrinement and made it as a kenzoku (messenger of the gods) of the Munakata deity. The architectural style of the main building of the shrine is known as the ikkensha-zukuri (a style of main shrine building that has a small one-bay sanctuary) with Hiwadabuki, the roofing made of cypress bark.

Shoshoi-sha Shrine
This shrine enshrines Kushinadahime. This shrine enshrined the former otabisho (place where the sacred palanquin is lodged during a festival) that was transferred from the Yasaka-jinja Shrine between Shoshoi-cho and Otabi-cho, Shoshoi. So, on July 24, the day of post-festival of the Gion Festival, a shinto priest from Yasaka-jinja Shrine visits the shrine and offers food and alcohol to the god and reports on the Gion festival held. The architectural style of the main building of the shrine is known as the Misedana-zukuri (style) with Hiwadabuki, the roofing made of cypress bark.

Kotohira-gu Shrine
This shrine enshrines Omononushi no kami and Emperor Sutoku. The shrine was built as a branch shrine of Kotohira-gu Shrine by Takanaka KYOGOKU in the Marugame Domain of the Sanuki Province in November 19, 1806. The architectural style of the main building of the shrine is known as the Kasuga Zukuri (style) with Hiwadabuki, the roofing made of cypress bark.

Kazan inari-sha Shrine
This shrine is located under a tall camphor tree in the southern part of the precincts and enshrines Ukanomitama no kami. It is said that the shrine was enshrined as the guardian god of the Kazanin family. The architectural style of the main building of the shrine is known as the ikkensha-zukuri with Hiwadabuki, the roofing made of cypress bark.

Kyoto kanko (sightseeing) -jinja Shrine
This shrine enshrines Sarutahiko. The shrine was first appealed to the gods for the tourists' safety and health and development of the industry and founded on November 1, 1969 with the idea of tourist agents as a guiding deity. The architectural style of the main building of the shrine is known as the ikkensha-zukuri with the copper roofing.

Information for nearby spots

Kyoto Imperial Palace


A short walk from Marutamachi Station, Kyoto Municipal Subway.

[Original Japanese]