Serialization about Mount Miwa-03 Omiwa Shrine(三輪山シリーズ-03 大神神社)

The Omiwa Shrine is the “Ichinomiya*”, or the highest-ranking shrine in Nara prefecture (former Yamato province**), and is believed to be one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. 

Usually, a Shinto shrine has a worship hall called Haiden and a main shrine called Honden behind the worship hall where the kami is normally enshrined. However, the Omiwa Shrine is unique in that it does not have the main shrine. Instead, the shrine has a special sacred gate called Mitsu-torii-gate*** behind the worship hall and people worship the mount Miwa itself as a kami through the Mitsu-torii-gate.

It is quite rare for a shrine to keep this ancient style of worshipping the kami.

*Yamato province (Yamato-no-kuni in Japanese) was a place where Yamato dynasty existed in the 4th century.
**Ichinomiya is a historical term referring to the Japanese Shinto shrines with the highest shrine rank in a particular province or prefecture. Ichinomiya are part of the system of classification and ranking of shrines.
***Torii gate: a Shinto gateway to the sacred place.






Aki Sawaguchi.

Editor: Stuart Cauley.