Tanzan Jinja Shrine
The only thirteen-storey wooden pagoda in Japan has an overwhelming presence
There is Fire on the Mountain (but only in autumn)
April 13, 2017

An interesting shrine complex on the side of the Tounomine range, where it’s easy to spend an hour or two exploring the buildings, walking around the mountain and enjoying the foliage. It's tricky to get to but well worth a visit especially in late autumn, when the maple backdrop of the shrine buildings glow red and yellow in the sunshine and the mountain appears to be on fire. / Tanzan Shrine used to be a dual Buddhist-Shinto temple-shrine complex prior to the late 1800s, and you can see remnants of its curiously syncretic past on the grounds - for instance, in the Buddhist murals gracing the walls of the main hall. If you can, visit Tanzan Shrine when they’re holding the Kemari Festival. Performers in gorgeously colourful Heian period costume put on a show where they play kemari or ‘kickball’ - a delightful recreation of games from olden times.

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The origin of the shrine is when the remains of Fujiwara no Kamatari was relocated from Aiyama (Mount Ai) of Settsu Province to this place, and that Kamatari's eldest son Joe built the thirteen-storey wooden pagoda (important cultural property). The younger son Fujiwara no Fuhito established the shrine and enshrined the father's statue. Though it used to be one with the Myoraku-ji temple, only the shrine remained after the ordinance to distinguish Shinto and Buddhism was executed in the beginning of Meiji era.

The shrine was named after the term "Katarai-yama", which is the historical reference to Kamatari and Prince Naka no Oe's collusion to assassinate Soga no Iruka. Within the mountain of Tonomine, the vermilion-lacquered gorgeous shrines line, including Sakura-mon (important cultural property), Honden (Important cultural property), and Gonden (Important cultural property). Enshrining the statue of Kamatari, the main shrine (honden) has Sangensha (architecture of three-bay wide structure) Sumigiiri Kasuga-zukuri style structure and painted with gorgeous color lacquer, which has become the model for the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine.

The current pagoda is rebuilt during Muromachi era and is 17m high. As the only thirteen-storey structure left among the ancient pagodas, it is said to be Kamatari's tomb pagoda. While it is known for its view of autumn leaves, the cherry blossom in the spring, fresh verdue in the summer, and the view of snow-clad mountain in the winter can also be enjoyed throughout the year.

Prayer- success in career, good fortune, prosperity of descendants, marriage

Tanzan Jinja Shrine

Accepting only Japanese

●Address/319 Tonomine, Sakurai
●Hours/8:30~17:00 (last admission 16:30)
●Holidays/Open all year round
●Admission/adults(junior school students and above) 600yen; elementary school students 300yen; 5 years and under: free
◆Access/Near ""Tanzan Jinja"" bus stop, which can be reached from JR/Kintetsu ""Sakurai"" Station on the bus bound for ""Tanzan jinja"" Station.
From JR Sakurai Station 20 minutes by taxi from the station.

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Related information
How to Pray at Temples and Shrines
Sightseeing course including Tanzan Jinja Shrine

Nearby spot information

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Recommended tourlist rote including this tourist spot
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