Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Wakaura Tenmangu Shrine


The steps up to Wakaura Tenmangu Shrine are steep and rough, but not as long as the stairs up to the neighboring Kishu Toshogu Shrine.

Wakaura Tenmangu is older than the Toshogu by about 7 centuries, although the Tenmangu was rebuilt about ten years before the Toshogu was built in the 17th century.

Enshrining Tenjin, the deified form of Sugawara Michizane, known as a god of poetry and scholarship, Tenmangu shrines are where students head to before taking exams.

It is said that Michizane himself was here in 901 when the ship taking hime to "exile" in Dazaifu dropped anchor here to await favorable winds. He is said to have composed two poems here.

Wakaura, or Wakanoura, literally means Bay of Poetry, and Michizane was adding to a long list of poems composed in the area since ancient times.

It is said that Naoki Tachibana stopped here on his return from Daizaifu, where Michizane's grave was, sometime between 964 and 968, and established the shrine.

The shrine was destroyed in 1585 during the invasion of the area by Hideyoshi. It was rebuilt in 1604 by Yukinaga Asano and employed the leading craftsmen of the day.

The painted carvings of animals around the eaves of the main building are particularly noteworthy. There are several sub-shrines within the grounds, and great views from the shrine over Waknoura.

The previous post in this series on attractions of Wakayama City was the neighbouring Kishu Toshogu Shrine.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to craft such an informative and enjoyable read.