Unebiyamaguchi-jinja Shrine (畝火山口神社)

Unebiyamaguchi-jinja Shrine is located in the western foot of Mt. Unebi in Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture. It was a Shikinai-sha (shrine listed in ancient Engishiki laws) and was categorized as a kensha (a prefectural shrine) in the old shrine ranking.

It is one of the six Yamaguchi-jinja Shrines in Yamato Province (Asuka, Iware, Ossaka, Hase, Unebi and Miminashi) listed in the Engishiki Norito (Shinto prayer), and is also one of the eighty-five shrines of rainmaking rites.

Enshrined Deity
The shrine is home to Okinagatarashihime no Mikoto (Empress Jingu), Toyoukebime and Sumiyoshi Sanjin (The three deities of Sumiyoshi) who are believed to be the gods for smooth childbirth.

Due to the existence and nature of other Yamaguchi-jinja Shrines, the original enshrined deity is considered to be Oyamatsumi. Today, Oyamatsumi no mikoto is enshrined at the subordinate shine Oyamazumi-jinja.

The history of its foundation is unknown. Its first appearance in literature was in the "Shinsho kyakuchoku fusho", which stated that a contribution of one jinpu (residential unit) was given to the shrine in 806. According to an Article from the 27th of January, 859 (old lunar calendar) of the "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (the last of six classical Japanese history texts), a Hoheishi (Imperial messenger to a Shinto shrine) was dispatched to pray for rain on September 8, 859. It is listed as 'Unebiyamaguchiniimasu-jinja Shrine in Takaichi-gun, Yamato Province' in the Engishiki jimmyocho (a register of shrines in Japan) and is categorised as a taisya (a grand shrine) in charge of the Tsukinami-sai and Niiname-sai festivals (ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly-harvested rice to the deities).

It was originally located at the western foot of Mt. Unebi, as described in the "Gogun Jinja-ki" (Record of Shrines in Five Counties) in 1466: 'Unebiyamaguchi-jinja Shrine, it is located at the western foot of Mt. Unabi in Kume-go'
However, the map made in the Tensho era shows that its location was on the top of Mt. Unabi, so it must have been relocated from the foot of the mountain to the top between the Bunan era and the Tensho era. It was also referred to as 'Unebi Myojin Temple' and 'Unebiyamajingu-sha Shrine' during the Edo period.

When Kashihara-jingu Shrine was located at the eastern foot of Mt. Unabi during its expansion in 1949, the Japanese government ordered to relocate Unebiyamaguchi-jinja Shrine to the western foot of Mt. Unabi (its current location) because it was improper for it to stand above Kashihara-jingu Shrine or the Mausoleum of Emperor Jinmu. At that time, it was promoted from a gosha (a village shrine) to a kensha.

Shinto Ritual
Hanitsuchi-shinji is held as a special shinto ritual. It is a ritual for collecting soil from the summit of Mt. Unebi to make earthenware used for the Kinensai (a prayer service held in February for a good crop) and the November Niiname-sai festival, both held at Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine in Osaka.

[Original Japanese]