Okunitama Jinja Shrine

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The deity worshipped at this shrine is Okunitama-no-okami, the patron god of the Musashi region. This deity (the son of the god Susanoo-no-mikoto) opened up the Musashi Plain, and in ruling over the land showed human beings how to feed, clothe, and house themselves while also teaching them medical techniques and charms.

The shrine traces its origin back to the fifth day of the fifth month in the year 111, when Emperor Keiko (the 12th historical emperor) ordered its construction according to a command from the god. It is said that after a descendant of the deity Izumo-no-omiame-no-hohi-no-mikoto was appointed as the Musashi regional administrator under the oldest Imperial system to serve at this shrine, his descendants have continued to hold that title and perform the attendant ritual functions.

Up until the time of Emperor Kotoku (645-654) and the great Taika Reform of 645, the imperial government for the Musashi region continued to be located here. During this time the shrine was the site for ceremonies of the provincial government, and the overall administration of ceremonies and government was performed from here by the provincial governor. The provincial governor also specified appropriate worship for the various deities of the region and religious functions were being exercised. In this way the shrine functioned as the grand shrine for the Musashi region.

Later, after the installation of the “Rokusho” or “six distinguished local deities” (Ono-no-okami, Ogawa-no-okami, Hikawa-no-okami, Chichibu-no-okami, Konsana-no-okami, and Sugiyama-no-okami) on both sides of the main shrine building, the shrine also came to be referred to as “Rokushomiya.” Then in 1182, Minamoto no Yoritomo sent Kasai Saburo Kiyoshige here as his envoy to pray for safe delivery in childbirth for his wife Masako. Shortly after in 1186, Yoritomo appointed a protector for the Musashi region and ordered the construction of shrine buildings. In February 1232, a man named Sukeyori who was the representative of the Kamakura shogunate in the region had the shrine buildings refurbished.

After Tokugawa Ieyasu made his entrance into Edo Castle in 1590, the shrine as the grand shrine for the Musashi region was rendered the greatest respect and the shrine estate was provided with an annual income of 500 “koku” of rice, which allowed careful attention to be given to the shrine buildings and ancillary buildings. In October 1646, due to frequent outbreaks of fires, the shrine buildings burned to the ground. But in 1667, at the order of the shogun Ietsuna, Kuze Hiroyuki (the Yamato-no-kami) constructed the buildings that stand to this day. The construction style is the aidonozukuri joining method which brings the crimson lacquered sides of the three buildings together, while the roof is in the ryuzukuri style. During the Keio period shortly before the Meiji Restoration, the cypress bark roof was replaced with copper "thatch." The main hall has also been designated as a cultural property by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

During the first year of the Meiji period (1868), this shrine was officially recognized as a shrine by the new government. In 1874 it became ranked as a prefectural shrine, and 1885 as an official government shrine of the "small" (third) rank. Although this shrine was originally known as Okunitama Jinja Shrine, since the middle ages of Japanese history it has been regarded as the grand shrine of Musashi. Because it is home to the worship of the Rokusho deities famous throughout Japan, the official name used became Musashi Sosha Rokushogu Shrine, although in 1871 the shrine name reverted to Okunitama Jinja Shrine. Since the prestige of the deities worshipped here is outstanding, from ancient times worshippers have flocked here from throughout the Kanto district including the Musashi area itself.

The famous Kokufu Festival, a large annual festival, is held at this shrine on May 5. On the evening of the festival eight mikoshi (portable shrines) are carried in an old-fashioned procession. Previously, all lights were extinguished and in the pitch black darkness the gods in their portable shrines were carried to the mikoshi storage area, where rites were performed and they spent the night. This tradition gave rise to the popular name of “Kurayami Matsuri” ("Festival of Darkness"). However, in 1961 the portable shrine procession was moved up to the evening.

Detailed information

Basic information

Address

3-1 Miya-machi, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo

Fuchu-shi

Postal code:183-0023

Access

By car:Approximately 15 minutes from the Kunitachi-Fuchu Interchange on the Chuo Expressway

By train:5 minutes by foot from Fuchu Station on the Keio Line or JR Fuchu-honmachi Station

Parking

Available

For

Children | Students | Groups | Couples | Families | Seniors |

Cultural Properties

National Designated Cultural Properties | National Designated Historical Ruins/Historical Sites/Places of Scenic Beauty | Natural monuments/Special Natural Treasures | Tokyo Designated Cultural Properties | Tokyo Designated Historical Buildings | Tokyo Designated Historical Ruins/Historical Sites/Places of Scenic Beauty |

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Facility information

Toilet facilities available | Restaurant facilities |

Universal design

  • Automated external defibrillator (AED)

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