Omi-jingu Shrine (近江神宮)

Omi-jingu Shrine is a shrine which sits majestically atop Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. It is a new shrine that was built in 1940, during celebrations of the 2600th anniversary of the Imperial history.

The shrine was arranged to provide Emperor Tenchi as its enshrined deity, because the Emperor transferred the capital from Asuka to Omi-kyo in A.D. 667.

Its sanctuary, the main building of Omi-jingu Shrine, is one of the registered tangible cultural assets of Japan, which has a distinctive architectural style that is called 'Omi-zukuri.'

Sun clocks and rokoku (water clocks) which were donated by clock merchants from various places are displayed in the precincts of the shrine; the clock museum is located next to the shrine. These arrangements are derived from the tradition that Emperor Tenchi placed a rokoku in the shrine for the first time in Japan.

The competition of Kyogi Karuta (one-on-one card game) is held in the shrine in January every year, in which a male champion from the male competition is awarded the title Master and a female champion from the female competition is awarded the title Queen. These competitions are associated with Emperor Tenchi who wrote the poem that appears first in the poem collection, "Ogura Hyakunin Isshu" (The Ogura's Sequence of One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets).

Cultural assets
National Treasures
The set of objects which were stored in the central base stone in Sofuku-ji Temple is now placed in safe keeping at the Kyoto National Museum.

Important cultural properties
The White Porcelain Ewer
"Rokaku Sansui-zu" (Landscape of High Buildings) on a pair of six-panel folding screens, ink and light-colored painting on paper, painted by Shohaku SOGA

The sanctuary: the main building of Omi-jinja Shrine

Omi Jingu Shrine Clock Museum

Omi Jingu Shrine Clock Museum has a large collections of clocks which consist of approximately 3000 items from all over the world and it is the only clock museum in the prefecture. It is located on the second floor of the Visitors' Rest House. The clock museum was placed in the shrine in 1963, because Emperor Tenchi was the first person to use a clock in Japan; the clock was a rokoku.

There are some restored models of clocks displayed outside: the model of the water clock which was the oldest clock of Japan: a fire clock which was used in China; and many valuable genuine clocks, such as sun clocks and Japanese clocks, displayed inside.

Admission fees: 300 yen for Adults, 150 yen for Children
Open hours: From 9am to 4:30pm
Closed: none; open through year

By train
Take a train on Keihan Electric Railway Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line, get off at Omi-jinja-Mae Station and walk north west for 0.6 km.

Or take a train on JR-West (West Japan Railway Company) Kosei Railway Line, get off at Otsukyo Station and walk north west for 1.1 km.

By car
Take Biwako nishi jukan road, get off at Minami-Shiga Ramp, and go south for 0.4 km.

Off Route 161, go west 1.1 km.

[Original Japanese]