History of Muramatsu Daijingu
Goyuisho

Irimoya (semi-gabled) roof
at the Hall of Worship features elaborate
chidori hafu style triangular peaks,
suggesting the wings of a bird


Asuka Period


Muramatsu Daijingu was established around 700 AD.

According to the shrines records, a gigantic boulder at Isozaki-Maehama began emitting a mysterious light on April 7, 708. The light is said to have collected at Masaki no Ura., where awed townspeople saw it as an emanation, and began venerating the deities of Ise whose visit they believed they had just witnessed.


Heian Period

Emperor Kanmu
Emperor Saga


The connection between the imperial family and Muramatsu Daijingu can be traced nearly to the time it was founded. Records show that about 100 years after the shrine was established, it was visited by Emperor Kanmu during his reign (around 800 AD), Thereafter, Emperor Heizei (r. 806-809) conferred upon the shrine the name Muramatsu Gosho Daijingu ? literally, Muramatsu Grand Shrine of the Five Places. The record also reflects that Emperor Saga  (r. 809-823) made offerings at Muramatsu Daijingu.


Yoriyoshi Minamoto
Yoshiie Minamoto


In 1060, when both Yoriyoshi and Yoshiie Minamoto came to beseech the deities for victory in the Nine-Year War they were waging against the Abe clan, they constructed element buildings in the shrine, and donated the grounds. By the 15th century, however, Japan had plunged into a state of perpetual war and chaos, nowhere more so than the region surrounding Muramatsu. To spare the enshrined deities from the ravages of war, an object of worship in which their spirits are believed to reside, known as a shinji, was removed from Muramatsu Daijingu and taken for safekeeping to the Tohoku region.



Edo Period

Mitsukuni Tokugawa
Nariaki Tokugawa



Mitsukuni Tokugawa rebuilt the shrine in 1694. Two years later, the spirit of the deity of the Ise Inner Shrine was divided, as had been the case when Muramatsu Daijingu was originally established, and apportioned to Muramatsu. The rededicated shrine was named for Amaterasu-Omikami. Sacred treasures for the use of the deities along with other implements formerly stored within the Ise shrine were placed in the branch shrine.



Sacred swords stored within the shrine



In 1857, Nariaki Tokugawa set about the reconstruction of Daijingu. When the project was completed three years later, every structure in the shrine estate had been rebuilt. This period coincides with the time of the Meiji Restoration (1858). Many of the imperial loyalists at the core of the movement to overthrow Tokugawa and restore the emperor to power visited the shrine.



In the Modern Era

Japan took the decision to establish an institute for comprehensive nuclear energy research and development, the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI), near the site of the shrine in 1956. Since that time, some of the water from the shrine pond Akogigaura, has been diverted to the JAERI nuclear facilities. When it was proposed, the plan to share the water from a site where kami dwell was extremely controversial and deeply divided the public, but the outcome finally turned on a bold decision by the High Priest, who reasoned it would be beneficial for the development of the region and the future of Japan. Thus, the shrine became instrumental in kindling the nations nascent interest in nuclear power development and utilization. In the intervening years, the water has also been shared with Japan Nuclear Cycle Institute and the Japan Atomic Power Co., Ltd., making Akogigaura a font of new energy development for the nation.





Mito Tokugawa Family Mikoshi


Two divine palanquins, or mikoshi, are housed in a special reliquary alongside the Hall of Worship. Although both are roughly the same size, they were created at different times, and each has its own distinctive history.

The Mito Tokugawa mikoshi, donated by Mitos descendent, Nariaki Tokugawa, bears the three-leaf Tokugawa family crest (mitsuba-aoi) on its roof and body, as well as the poles at its base. While it is unclear precisely when the mikoshi was crafted, assuming that the work approximately coincided with the time Nariaki was rebuilding the shrine in 1857, the palanquin would be about 150 years old. The curved tie beams and chamfered cornices of the gold-foil roof are accentuated with an undulating karahafu or bargeboard, and crowned with a sculpted bird taking flight Although mikoshi are sometimes called portable shrines because they are traditionally carried on the shoulders of revelers and worshipers at shrine festivals, this one is principally ornamental.


Mikoshi

The year in which the second mikoshi was built is clearly given as 1872, when it was donated by shrine parishioners. Here, the roof is in the kirizuma open-gable style, with a straight slope. The Daijingu sixteen-petal chrysanthemum crest shines in brilliant gold counterpoint to  the jet-black central area of the roof and the carrying poles to which it is affixed.

Area residents are quite familiar with this mikoshi. They see it at least twice a year, when members of the Ichinomiya Societys Daijingu Mikoshi Preservation Committee boldly parade it through the community.