Yawata city
Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine


Designated Important Cultural Properties
Heian Period

The shrine is situated at the peak of Mt. Otokoyama and is dedicated to three spirits: Emperor Ojin, the legendary Empress Jingu and the deity Hime no Okami. It is said that the shrine was founded in 859 when the Buddhist monk Gyokyo asked that the god of Usa Hachimangu Shrine in Kyushu descend according to the god's oracle. The temple was greatly venerated by the court and imperial family as a shrine to guard the country. A temporary festival took place after the rebellion by Taira no Masakado and Fujiwara Sumitomo and became popular as an annual court festival in southern Kyoto along with the royal festival held in Kamo in northern Kyoto.
The Ki family, descendants of monk Gyokyo, had control over the shrine. In the mountainous area of Otokoyama are many related temples and shrines, and Buddhist style ceremonies before the Hachimangu Shrine were continued until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
"Tsurezuregusa" (Random Thoughts from My Leisure Hours), a miscellany in the zuihitsu (random jottings) authored by Yoshida Kenko, contains a famous story connected with Hachimangu Shrine: a Buddhist priest of Ninna-ji Temple mistook the magnificent Gokuraku Temple and Kora Shrine at the foot of the mountain for Hachimangu Shrine, and returned home without even visiting Hachimangu Shrine at the top of the mountain.
Minamoto Yoshiie celebrated his coming of age before Hachimangu Shrine and called himself Hachiman Taro. For this reason, the shrine was worshiped by samurai warriors as the Minamoto family's deity or the god of battle. In the Muromachi Period (1333-1568), the shrine was frequently visited by Shoguns because the mother of the 3rd Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu had come from the Ki family. The 6th Shogun was chosen by lot at the shrine.
The shrine building was in the hachiman-zukuri style. The main shrine consists of a series of three buildings. In front of the main shrine is an outer shrine of the same scale, surrounded by corridors. Between the main hall and the outer hall is a golden tub, which was contributed by Oda Nobunaga (1534-82), a military hegemon, in 1580. The present shrine was constructed by the 3rd Shogun of the Edo Period, Tokugawa Iemitsu (designated important cultural property).
Designated as important cultural properties are the 6-meter tall five-storied stone pagoda built near Kora Shrine, the tallest in Japan, and the garden's stone lantern, made in 1295. The Iwashimizu festival is held on November 15 each year.

Source: The Yawata municipal government


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