Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Kobe: Ikuta Jinja

One of the oldest shrines in Japan, the Ikuta Shrine is located in Kobe. The shrine is said to have been constructed by the Empress Jingy in early 3rd Century. The founding of the Ikuta Shrine is mentioned in Nihon Shiki, the second oldest book of Japanese history. 
The enshrined deity " Wakahiru-me-no-Mikoto" is considered to be the guardian of health. She is regarded as the sister of the highest deity in Shintoism, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. 

In AD 806, the Emperor sent 44 "Kanbe" to maintain the shrine. Kanbe are members of a community who are entrusted with the upkeep and management of a Shinto Shrine and its rice paddy. The same Chinese character is used to write Kanbe and Kobe and that is how the city of Kobe got its name ! 
The locals consider this shrine as a symbol of resurrection; they believe the shrine has helped them overcome the various disasters that Kobe has faced such as the air raids of World War II and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. The shrine itself is a survivor - the Genpei War of 1184 was fought in and around the shrine grounds and then heavy flooding of the surrounding area in 1938. 

The shrine is popular among  locals for the "Hatsumode" ritual, the first temple or shrine visit of the New Year to pray for good health, good luck and happiness in the year ahead. 

Sitting between tall buildings, departmental stores and surrounded by dining places and cafes' in Sannomiya, the shrine is located in the shopping and nightlife hub of Kobe.

Address: Hyogo Prefecture 650-0011, Kobe, Chuo Ward, Shimoyamatedori- 1-2-1

Phone:  078-321-3851

Opening Hours: 7:00 am to sunset

Closing Days: No closing days 

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