Oct 2023 02
Hiyoshi Taisha

Hiyoshi Taisha | Shrine of the mountain god that exudes charm. Enjoy the seasonal beauty of the forest.

日吉大社 | 風韻を漂わせる山の神の社。清風の森の雪月花を愛でる

The mountain stream of the Omiya River flows gently. The vast precincts are dotted with numerous shrine buildings that boast precious architectural beauty. The shrines shine beautifully against the backdrop of the four seasons. Hiyoshi Taisha is located at the foot of Mt. Hiei. It is the head shrine of more than 3,800 “Sanno-san” all over Japan.
It has a long history, and is said to have been founded in the 7th year of Emperor Sujin (668) about 2,100 years ago. When the capital was transferred to Heian-kyo, it was revered as a shrine to pray for warding off demons and disasters, as this area was the capital's front demon gate (northeast). Also, after Dengyo Daishi Saicho opened Mt. Hiei, he came to be revered as a guardian deity of the Tendai sect.


The Sanno Torii gate appears ahead of Omiya Bridge. It has a unique shape with a triangular gable (roof) on top of Myojin torii. It is said that it represents the unity of Shinto and the Womb Realm/Vajra Realm of Buddhism.


The precincts consist of two areas, East main shrine and west main shrine. The east main shrine enshrines the deity Oyamakui, who is enshrined on Mt. Hachioji (378m). The area around the summit is dotted with a large stone rock called Kogane no Oiwa and a powerful hanging shrine.


The main shrine is built in the Hie-zukuri style, which exists only at Hiyoshi Taisha. A floor plan in which eaves are added to the front and both sides of the main house. The feature is that it is hafu. It is said to be a remnant of the religious form of syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism.


The main hall of the Nishimoto shrine was built on the occasion of the relocation of the capital to Otsu-Kyo, where Onamuchi no Kami was entrusted from Mt. Miwa in Nara Prefecture. Usa Shrine enshrines the Princess Goddess of Usa-jingu Shrine, and Hakusan-gu Shrine, which was transferred from Shirayamahime Shrine, Kaga Province's Ichinomiya Shrine. This is also characterized by the same 'Hie-zukuri' style, and has been designated as a national treasure along with the main hall of the east main shrine.


The red-lacquered gate that soars majestically above Nishimoto Shrine is the West Main Shrine Romon. A romon is a two-storied gate with a rim on the upper floor and only one roof. The West Main Shrine Romon is a three-room single-family house with irimoya-zukuri and a cypress bark roof, similar to the East Main Shrine Romon. It is larger in scale than the east main shrine and has a magnificent appearance. At the four corners under the eaves, divine monkeys in different poses watch over the worshipers.


Speaking of Hiyoshi Taisha, Sanno Festival. During this festival, which is widely known as "Sanno-san", seven mikoshi (portable shrines) weighing 1,500 kg from the seven shrines of Sanno appear, and in the midst of cherry blossoms in full bloom, a majestic Shinto ritual suitable for one of the three major lake country festivals is held. That's it. I would like to see an annual festival with a history of over 1200 years.


about this venue

Hiyoshi Taisha

Location: 5-1-1 Sakamoto, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone: 077-578-0009


〈国宝〉西本宮本殿 東本宮本殿
〈重文〉西本宮拝殿 東本宮拝殿 摂社樹下宮本殿及び拝殿 摂社宇佐宮本殿及び拝殿 摂社白山宮本殿及び拝殿 摂社牛尾宮本殿及び拝殿 摂社三宮宮本殿及び拝殿 西本宮楼門 日吉三橋 東本宮楼門 山王金銅装御輿