Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

July 13, 2009

Fujinomori Shrine (Kyoto Guide)

The Fujinomori Shrine in the Fushimi Ward of Kyoto is associated with horses and horse racing - its main festival on May 5 features kake-uma (showing military arts on horseback). The deities are militant gods and therefore Fujinomori was in the past popular with warriors.

[Shrine grounds, Fujinomori Jinja]

The shrine rather naively claims a history of 1,800 years, all the way back to Empress Jingu who is one of its present deities. Empress Jingu was a rather belligerent female, who led a naval expedition to attack Korea, but unfortunately for the shrine, she never existed. Her story is all pure myth, as are the banners and weapons she is supposed to have buried here after her victorious return from the continent.

Historical evidence shows rather that the Fujinomori Shrine was established in the 15th c. by the merger of a few local shrines in this area. About those original shrines, nothing is known, but if they had been famous, they would have figured in the 10th century Engishiki list of important shrines. So it is safe to assume this shrine was born from medieval warrior society, and that fits its character.

[Statue of sinister samurai, Fujinomori Jinja]

The grounds are spacious, but there are no historical buildings except the Main Hall which dates from 1712 and was apparently moved here from the Palace. The shrine is known for its hydrangeas, which flower in June in two gardens attached to the shrine.
A 5-minute walk from JR Fujinomori Station on the JR Nara Line, or a 7-minute walk from Sumizome Station on the Keihan Line