Fujinomori Shrine|藤森神社

Overview

Fujinomori Shrine Sacred Horse

A shrine located in southern Kyoto, Fujinomori Shrine is said to have been founded by Emperor Jingu even before Kyoto became the capital in the 700s.  The origin of Children’s Day was born at Fujinomori Shrine, and today it is known for answering prays in relation to victory, studies, and horse racing.  This shrine has a history of connections to the imperial family, and on the grounds there is a sprawling hydrangea garden lovely in June.

The origin of Children’s Day was born at Fujinomori Shrine, and today the shrine is known for answering prays in relation to victory, studies, and horse racing.

Features

Honden

Fujinomori Shrine Honden Main Hall

Because of its long connection to the imperial family, Fujinomori Shrine’s main sanctuary enshrines many kami who were members of the imperial lineage in life.  In the “center seat” of the sanctuary Susano’o no Mikoto, Wakeikazuchi no Mikoto, Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, Empress Jingu, Emperor Ōjin, Emperor Nintoku, and Takenouchi no Sukune are enshrined, with Prince Toneri and Emperor Tenmu in the “east seat” and Prince Sawara, Prince Iyo, and Princess Igami in the “west seat”.

Hydrangea Garden

Hydrangea garden during the Ajisai festival at Fujinomori shrine.

Fujinomori Shrine’s grounds are made lovely with a hydrangea garden, split into two parts in the north and southwest parts of the shrine.  At 5000 m² and containing 3,500 plants, this garden blooms in June during Japan’s rainy season, and the shrine also holds a Hydrangea Festival that month that features various offerings of performances and shrine rituals on certain days.  With flowers in a variety of colors from pink and white to blue and purple, you can take a seat in the garden gazebo or enjoy the sight strolling through.

Horseracing Luck

Fujinomori Shrine Ema Horse Race

Fujinomori Shrine has a reputation for prays related to horses and victory, which makes it a particularly popular place for people in the horseracing industry.  Fans and bettors may be pleased to find charms for good luck at the track available at the shrine office, which will hopefully help you out with your next derby pick!

Treasure Hall

Fujinomori Shrine Musuem Homotsu-den

Free to enter and located just next to the shrine’s office and where you can purchase charms is the Fujinomori Shrine Hōmotsuden (Treasure Hall).  Though it is made up of only a single room, there are a lot of interesting treasures contained within, with a focus on horses as well as items related to Japan’s military traditions.  One wall is covered in horse figurines ranging from tiny to giant, with samples from various other countries as well as different periods in Japanese history.  A set of armor said to belong to Prince Sawara is located next to gold and black saddles and ancient bows, spears, and rifles, and there are also collections of various stationary goods and metalworks such as sword hilts and décor.  You can also view a katana made by Sanjō Munechika, a Heian period swordsmith who is known as the creator of some of Japan’s oldest and most beautiful swords.

History

It is said that Fujinomori Shrine is an ancient place of worship founded 1,800 years ago by Empress Jingu before the relocation of the Heian capital to Kyoto, the place where Empress Jingu supposedly raised a battle flag and mound and dedicated tools of battle.  In 794, Fujinomori Shrine was chosen as the location of a ritual carried out for the relocation of the capital.    

The Honden (main sanctuary) was constructed in 1712 and donated by Emperor Nakamikado.  Since over the years two other shrines were integrated into Fujinomori Shrine, the enshrined deities are separated into three “seats” in the sanctuary and include Susano’o no Mikoto and many which have ties to the imperial family, such as Prince Yamato Takeru, Emperor Ōjin, Empress Jingu, and Emperor Nintoku.    

Fujinomori Shrine is known as the shrine that originated the practice of Shōbu no Sekku, (also called Tango no Sekku), which evolved in to what is now celebrated on May 5th in Japan as the more general Children’s Day.  Originally, Shōbu no Sekku was celebrated by warrior households to celebrate the courage of boys and pray for a son’s health and strength.  Shōbu is the word for Japanese iris, but is also a homophone for the word “victory”, and in modern days the shrine is known as home to the gods of victory and horses, which makes it very popular with people involved in the horseracing industry, from owners and jockeys to fans and bettors. 

On May 5th each year Fujinomori Shrine holds the Kakeuma Shinji, a ritual in which men called noriko riders gallop horses full tilt down the shrine’s entrance path while performing tricks such as hanging off the saddle by a single foot or performing shoulder stands, all of which were said to have been practiced by samurai in the past.  Though several shrines once performed this sort of festival, only Fujinomori Shrine continues to do so to this day.

Events

January 1st

Saitan-sai (New Year’s Ritual)

January 3rd

Genshi-sai (Festival of Origins)

Coming of Age Day

Seijin-sai (Coming of Age Ritual)

January 16th

Okihajime, Oyumihajime

February 3rd

Setsubun, Tsuina-shiki

First Day of the Horse

Fujinomori Inari Hatsu Uma-sai

February 11th

Kigen-sai (Foundation Day Festival)

March 3rd

Hina Matsuri

Vernal Equinox

Shunbun-sai

April 29th

Shōwa no Hi-sai (Showa Day Festival)

May 1st

Oide-sai

May 3rd

Mikoshi Mitama Utsushi (Transfer of the Deity to the Portable Shrine)

May 4th

Yoimiya-sai, Sekku-sai, Green Day Festival

May 5th

Fujinomori-sai (Fujinomori Festival), Kakeuma Shinji (Trick Riding Ritual)

June

Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival)

June 30th

Nagoshi Ōharae-shiki (Summer Purification Ritual)

July 16th

Umi no Hi-sai (Ocean Day Festival)

August 7th

Tanabata

Respect for the Aged Day

Keirō-sai (Respect for the Aged Day Festival)

Autumnal Equinox Day

Shūbun-sai, Soreisha-sai

Sports Day

Taiiku no Hi-sai (Sports Day Festival)

November 5th

Shūki Taisai, Hitaki-sai (Autumn Festival, Fire Festival)

November 23rd

Niiname-sai

December 23rd

Festival for the Emperor’s Birthday

1st, 5th, 15th of Each Month

Tsukinami-sai (Monthly Rituals)

5th of Each Month

Gankake-sai (Ritual for Fulfilling Rituals)

Access

Address

〒612-0863 京都府京都市 伏見区深草鳥居崎町609

TEL 075-641-1045
FAX 075-642-6231
WEB http://www.fujinomorijinjya.or.jp/

Admission

  • General Admission: Free

Hours

  • General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Closed: No closing days

Transportation

  • JR Line ⇒ Fujinomori Station ⇒ 10 minutes walking
  • City Bus ⇒ Daigo Takeda Line #2 ⇒ Tsujikaibashi Ichōme Bus Stop ⇒ 5 minutes walking
  • Keihan Main Line ⇒ Sumizome Station ⇒ 6 minutes walking