Yasaka-jinja Shrine (八坂神社)

Yasaka-jinja Shrine is the name for Shinto shrines all around the country that enshrine the deity Susanoo-no-mikoto. There are about 2300 in all of Japan.

The Central Shrine over all of them is Yasaka-jinja Shrine in Gion-cho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto. It is called by the nickname Gion-san, from the old name for the shrine. Known for the Gion Festival in July, and it also has a special Shinto ritual called Okera-sai. Under the old Shakaku system, it was a Kanpei Taisha.

Under the Separation Orders (anti-Buddhist movement) in the first year of Meiji, what was originally called Gion-sha/Gion Kanshin-in was changed to Yasaka-jinja Shrine.

Enshrined Deities
Enshrined deities after Meiji are:
Naka-no-ma - Susanoo (Susanoo-no-mikoto)
Higashi-no-ma - Kushinada Hime (Kushi(i)nadahime-no-mikoto)
Nishi-no-ma - Yahashira-no-mikogami
But before the Shinbutsu Hanzen Order in the Meiji period they were:
Naka-no-za - Gozu-Tennou
Higashi-no-za - Sagara-ryuo
Nishi-no-za - Harisainyo(uneme)
Gozu-Tennou is a guardian deity of Buddhism, and is considered to be the same god as Susanoo-no-mikoto in Japan. Harisainyo is his wife, whose father is Sagara-ryuo. Gozu-Tennou is said to protect Gion Shoja.

(Picture) Yasaka-jinja Shrine at the time of the Higashiyama Flower Lanterns
According to shrine records, it began in 656 when Choshin Fukushi/Irishiomi from Koguryo enshrined Susanoo-no-mikoto, who is enshrined at Mt. Gozu in Shilla, at Yasakago in Otagi-gun, Yamashiro province, and received the name "Yasaka-no-Miyatsuko". There are various other records, as well.

In 876 a monk named Ennyo transferred a piece of Gozu -Tennou's spirit from Hiromine Shrine in Harima province; later Mototsune FUJIWARA built the Shoja and called it Kankei-ji temple (aka Gion-ji temple). In 926 a monk built Gion Tenjindo. In 934 he built Gion Kanshin-in.

Although there are various stories about the early days of the shrine, it is certain that Gozu-Tennou and Susanoo-no-mikoto (who shares similarities with Gozu-Tennou), were the enshrined deities from early on. Even though the shrine has been around since ancient times, it is not listed in the Engishiki Jinmyocho. This is because of the significant mixing of Shinto and Buddhism and the influence of Enryaku-ji temple, which is why the shrine seems to have been regarded as a temple and not a Shinto shrine; but since it later became one of the 22 Shrines, it is evident that it was also regarded as a shrine. Since about the middle of the Heian period it came to be worshiped as the deity of the local area, and enjoyed the reverence of the imperial court.

The Gion Festival originated with a Goryoue that was held at Shinsenen in 869 when a plague had spread throughout the land, and came to be celebrated every year as this shrine's festival from around 970.

Gion Festival

Main Hall
Naka Goza (Susanoo-no-mikoto)
Higashi Goza (Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto)
Godoza: Kamuooichihime-no-mikoto/Samirahime-no-mikoto
Nishi Goza (Yahashira-no-mikogami - Yashimajinumi-no-kami, Itakeru-no-kami, Oyatsuhime-no-kami, Tsumatsuhime-no-kami, Otoshi-no-kami, Ukanomitama, Oyatsuhiko-no-kami, Suseribime)
Waki Goza: Inadanomiyanuchisuganoyatsumimi-no-kami

Eki Shrine (Somin Shorai)
Akuojisha (the ara-tama of Susanoo-no-mikoto)
Kajadensha (the spirit of Susanoo-no-mikoto at the time he made a vow to Amaterasu-omikami)

Kitamukiebisusha (Kotoshironushi-no-kami)
Daijingu (Amaterasu-omikami, Toyouke-no-okami)
Utsukushigozensha (Tagirihime-no-mikoto, Tagitsuhime-no-mikoto, Ichikishimahime)
Okuninushisha (Okuninushi-no-kami, Kotoshironushi-no-kami, Sukunahikona-no-mikoto)
Tamamitsuinarisha (Ukanomitama-no-kami)
Hiyoshisha (Oyamakui-no-kami, Omononushi-no-kami)
Hamono Shrine (Amanomahitotsu-no-kami)
Itsukushimasha (Ichikishimahime-no-mikoto)
Otasha (Sarutahiko, Amenouzume)
Otoshisha (Otoshi-no-kami, Chimatayashiro-no-kami)
10 Shrines - Tagahs (Izanagi-no-mikoto), Kumanosha (Izanami-no-mikoto), Hakusansha (Kukurihime-no-kami), Atagosha (Izanami-no-mikoto, Homusubi-no-mikoto) Kinposha (Kanayamahiko-no-mikoto, Iwanagahime), Kasugasha (Amanokoyane-no-mikoto, Takemikazuchi-no-kami, Iwainushi-no-kami, Hime-no-kami) Katorisha (Futsunushi-no-kami) Suwasha (Takeminakata), Matsuosha (Oyamakui-no-mikoto), Asosha (Takeiwatatsu-no-kami, Asotsuhime-no-mikoto, Hayamikatama-no-mikoto)
5 Shrines - Hachimansha (Emperor Ojin), Kamadogamisha (Okitsuhiko-no-kami, Okitsuhime-no-kami), Fujinsha (Amenomihashira-no-mikoto, Kuninomihashira-no-mikoto), Tenjinsha (Sukunahikona-no-mikoto), Suijinsha (Takaokami-no-kami, Mitsuhanome-no-kami)

Cultural Properties
Important Cultural Properties (Buildings)
Romon Gate: 1497 - also known as Nishi Romon
Stands to the west of the main hall, at the end of Shijo Street. A Romon gate in the Kiritsuma-zukuri style (2-story building).

Main Hall: 1654 - Built in a distinctive style called Gion-zukuri, it combines the main hall and the worship hall (separate buildings at most shrines) under one Irimoya Yane roof.

Ebisusha Massha: 1646
Ishidorii: 1646 - at the front entrance on the south side of the main hall

Important Cultural Properties (Arts and Crafts)

Wooden Guardian Dogs
Long Sword: inscribed as made by Yukihara of Bungo Province, made by sword maker Yukihira of Bungo (Oita Prefecture) at the end of the Heian period
Long Swords (3): All inscribed Dewadaijo FUJIWARA Kunimichi Kanaguondaiku Taiami, Gionsha Ontachi, September, Shouou 3, made by Edo Period sword smith Dewadaijo Kunimichi
Gong (inscribed Chosho year 3) (1) with Fixed Gong (not inscribed) (1)
Gionsha Ezu, Color on Paper
Gion Shikko Nikki: 9 volumes; with Gion Shaki, 59 volumes
Yasaka-jinja Shrine Documents (2,205 items): 89 scrolls, 40 books, 1 ledger, 1 letter
Sangaku: 1691 - Dedicated by Rinkan HASEGAWA, restored for display in the Ema-do

Nearest Train Station: about 5 minutes east of Keihan Shijo Station (Keihan Electric Railway)

There is a pay lot for parking

[Original Japanese]