Shiramine-jingu Shrine (白峯神宮)

Shiramine-jingu Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City. It enshrines the spirits of the Emperor Sutoku and the Emperor Junnin who both died in exile. The shrine was formerly named Shiramine-gu Shrine. It was ranked as a Kanpei Taisha (large-scale state shrine) under the old shrine classification system.

The site on which Shiramine-jingu Shrine stands was formerly the estate of the noble Asukai family which controlled the ball game kemari. The Sei Daimyojin deity enshrined in the Jinushi-sha auxiliary shrine is the guardian of kemari and is now also considered to be the guardian of not only soccer but all ball games and sport in general. The shrine therefore receives many visitors who participate in sports including soccer, and balls and other equipment offered by players belonging to Japan's national soccer and volleyball teams, as well as those who play in the Japan Professional Football League can be seen in front of the shrine building.

After being defeated in the Hogen Disturbance, Retired Emperor Sutoku was exiled to Sanuki Province where he died. A succession of natural disasters were attributed to a curse placed by the retired emperor, and a Goei-do hall enshrining him as Shiramine Daigongen was built in front of the Shiramine-no-Misasagi tomb (Sakaide City, Kagawa Prefecture) in which his remains were interred. During the turbulence at the end of the Edo period, the Emperor Komei commanded the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) to relocate to Kyoto the divine spirit of Retired Emperor Sutoku which had been enshrined in a distant land, but he passed away soon after. His son, the Emperor Meiji, continued his father's wish by constructing a shrine on the current site and relocating to it the statue housed within the Goei-do hall to found Shiramine-gu Shrine in August 1868.

After becoming embroiled in a conflict with FUJIWARA no Nakamaro, the Emperor Junnin (dethroned in Awaji Province) was exiled to Awaji Province where he died, but in 1873 his spirit was returned to Kyoto and enshrined along with the Emperor Sutoku and the shrine was classified as a Kanpei Chusha (middle-scale government shrines). The shrine was promoted to the rank of Kanpei Taisha in 1940 and was renamed Shiramine-jingu Shrine by imperial proclamation.

Shrines within the main precinct
Jinushi-sha Shrine: Enshrines the following deities.

Sei Daimyojin (god of ballgames and the improvement of sporting ability; annual festival held on July 7)
Hiiragi Daimyojin (god of longevity and protection from evil; annual festival held on Setsubun in February)
Imamiya Daijin (god of sound health; annual festival held on October 9)
Shiramine Tenjin (god of academic achievement; annual festival held on March 25)
Itogen Daimyojin (god of textile industry prosperity and traditional Japanese clothing; annual festival held on October 10)
Tomonoo-sha Shrine: Enshrines MINAMOTO no Tameyoshi and MINAMOTO no Tametomo who are worshipped as the gods of improvement in the martial arts and archery. Annual festival held on November 15.

Senryu-sha Shrine: Enshrines Shiramine Ryuo no Mikoto, Akaminehime-o no Mikoto and Murasakimine Dairyuo no Mikoto. These are the three deities that appeared in the flames during the Ohitaki-sai festival held at the main sanctuary in 1950. It is believed that drinking the water drawn from the Senryu-i well at the side of Senryu-sha Shrine grants protection from various misfortunes and disasters and cures diseases. Annual festival held on November 23.

Komachi-odori (dance)
A dance performed by girls that originated during the Genroku period. It was discontinued in modern times but revived in 1962. Every year on July 7, elementary school age girls wearing Genroku period style clothing, hairstyles and thick make-up perform an elegant and beautiful dance. During the Gion Festival, Genroku period style clothing, hairstyles and thick make-up are worn and elegant and beautiful dances performed by both elementary school age girls during the omukae-chochin (welcoming lantern ceremony) on July 10, and by Geisha and Maiko during the Hanagasa parade on July 24.


Cultural property
Portrait of the Emperor Sutoku and a Zuishin portrait (Important Cultural Property)

[Original Japanese]