Oharano Jinja C
Date Founded: 784 in the old capital of Nagaoka-kyo. First shrine buildings built in 850 at the behest of Emperor Montoku (r. 850-58). Present buildings from 1648.
Address: 1152 Minami Kasuga-cho Oharano Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 610-1153
How to get there: From Hankyu Katsura station take the Keihan bus to Minami Kasuga-cho bus stop then 8 minutes on foot. Or take the JR Line to JR Mukomachi Station then by bus to Minami Kasuga-cho bus stop. There are very few busses per day so call ahead to check the schedule. Not on the typical tourist route.
Enshrined kami: Ame no Koyane no mikoto and his consort Himegami, Takemikazuchi no mikoto, and Futsunushi no mikoto. All of these kami were invited to descend from Kasuga Taisha in Nara.
Prayers offered: Pray for a good love match, a good marriage, and for protection against bad luck.
Best time to go: From mid-November is a good time to view the autumn color of the Japanese maples.
|The second torii of Oharano Jinja|
(this and following photos by Joseph Cali)
|Koisawa no ike|
Important spiritual features: The kami of Oharano Jinja were prayed to by many empresses and imperial ladies from the time of its founding. This may have been in part because most of the wives and mothers of the Emperors, from the late-Nara period through the Heian period, were from the Fujiwara clan. Although few ancient records exist from this shrine, it is known that Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (804-72), the first Chancellor (daijo daijin) appointed since the priest Dokyo (who famously tried to usurp the position of emperor) ninety years prior, created the post of Saijo. Known as the Kasuga Saiin this high priestess was selected from among Fujiwara daughters and was in charge of affairs at the Kasuga and Oharano shrines for a brief time. Though just a pale imitation of the Saiku of Ise and the Saiin of Kamigamo, it reflects the power and prestige of the Fujiwara and their ancestral deities that each of their family shrines (Kasuga, Oharano and Yoshida) were in the elite group of twenty two shrines receiving offerings from the court. (Please see the entry for Kasuga Taisha in "Shinto Shrines; A Guide to the Sacred Sites of Japan's Ancient Religion" for details).
The Fujiwara clan was established when Emperor Tenji gave the name to Nakatomi no Kamatari who was instrumental in overthrowing the powerful Soga clan and establishing the Taika Reform in 646. The Nakatomi were an ancient and powerful clan in charge of kami ritual and purification ceremonies. It is thought hey were originally from the eastern province of Hitachi (present day Ibaragi) and their chief ancestral shrine was Kashima Jingu. The Nakatomi traced their ancestry to Amenokoyane no mikoto who performed norito (prayers) in front of the Heavenly Rock Cave in one of the central myths of Imperial Shinto mythology. This kami descended with the heavenly grandchild Ninigi and his ancestors were charged with protecting the divine mirror of Amaterasu, performing rituals, and reading norito for the divine protection of theYamato state. Along with the Mononobe they opposed the introduction of Buddhism to the country but were defeated by the Soga who, along with Prince Shotoku Taishi (573-621), established Buddhism as a national religion alongside worship of the kami. As the Soga wiped out the Mononobe, so the Nakatomi destroyed the Soga, leaving no rivals in their drive to power. One of Kamatari’s sons Fuhito established a new dynasty when he managed to have one of his daughters Miyako married to Emperor Mommu (r. 697-707) and their son Obito elevated to become Emperor Shomu (r. 724-49). This was the first time the child of a non-imperial line became emperor. It also established the Fujiwara as regents for underage emperors who continued to be the children of Fujiwara mothers, which lead to their having a lock on the office of Kampaku, chief advisor to the Emperor. In this way the Fujiwara became the clan supplying wives and mothers to the emperors and the real power behind the throne from about the 8th to the 11th centuries.
Festivals: Reisai (Oharano-sai), 8 April. The main festival of the shrine with a procession of the shrine’s mikoshi.
Mitakeri-sai, the second Sunday of September. A festival begun in the Edo period and featuring kami zumo.