Nonomiya-jinja Shrine (野宮神社)

Nonomiya-jinja Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Sagano, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. The enshrined deity is Nonomiya Okami (Amaterasu Omikami). It was ranked as a sonsha (village shrine) under the old shrine classification system and is now a religious corporation within the Shrine Association (Jinja Honkyo).

The shrine is said to have originated with a 'Nonomiya' at which Saio (unmarried female relatives of the emperor who were sent to Ise to serve at Ise-jingu Shrine from the late 7th century until the 14th century) underwent purification before departing to serve at Ise-jingu Shrine. When a new emperor ascended the throne, new Saio would be chosen by divination from the unmarried imperial princess and queens, enter a Nonomiya that had been constructed at a pure place in Sagano and undergo a year of purification before going to serve at Ise-jingu Shrine. The procession that took place at this time was known as 'Saio Gunko' and is recreated by the 'Itsuki-no-Miya Parade' that is held in October of each year.

The location of Nonomiya differed each time but had remained at the current site of Nonomiya Shrine since the time of the Imperial Princess Yoshiko, daughter of the Emperor Saga. The Saio system ended with the relatives of the Emperor Godaigo who reigned during the Northern and Southern Courts period, and the site continued as a shrine enshrining Amaterasu Omikami but fell into ruin during the Onin War. It was later revived under the orders of the Emperor Gonara and the Emperor Nakamikado and went on to receive the deep reverence of the imperial household.

The torii is a made of unbarked lumber and represents the style of torii that existed in ancient times.

The beautiful gardens within the shrine precinct have a famous moss known as 'Nonomiya Carpet Moss.'

The shrine is featured in the volume of 'Sakaki' of The Tale of Genji and is also the title of the noh song 'Nonomiya.'

[Original Japanese]