Miyashiro – Kōyasan’s Sacred Shinto Shrine

Miyashiro refers to the shrines dedicated to the deities who watch over Kōyasan. When Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai) consecrated Kōyasan in 819, he invited two Shinto deities to remain there to protect the area. The original shrine was one of the earliest buildings completed within the complex.

It was common for Japanese Buddhist temples and monasteries to incorporate Shinto shrines as protectors, prior to the Meiji period. Besides being protectors of Buddhistm, Shinto deities were also seen as manifestations of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in Japan prior to the introduction of Buddhism.

The shrines that stand today date from 1522, after a fire destroyed the building the year before. The vermillion torii marks the entrance to the shrine, signifying a sacred area of deep religious meaning associated with Shinto.

In front of the shrines is the Sanno-in hall, where formal doctrinal debates are carried out for the edification of these Shinto deities.

SOURCES:

  • Koyasan and Kumano Access Bus
  • UNESCO World Heritage Koyasan Leaflet in English
  • Koyasan Reihokan Museum Leaflet in English
  • Dai Garan Kongobuki Koyasan leaflet
  • Kongobuji Temple Leaflet
  • Guide to Koyasan
  • Kōyasan – the 1200th Anniversary Since The Foundation
  • Information provided by guide during night cemetery tour

 

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Miyashiro – Kōyasan’s Sacred Shinto Shrine

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