Thursday, December 14, 2023

Ido Shrine


Ido Shrine in Omori, part of the Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Site, was established in 1888 and worships the deified spirit of Ido Heizaimon, a former magistrate of the district who is known as the "Potato Magistrate".

He became the magistrate of the district in 1731, and in the following year, the Kyoho Famine struck western Japan. Officially there were 12,000 deaths attributed to the famine but in reality, the number was much higher, probably about 169,000. The causes of the famine seem to have been a combination of bad weather and insect infestation leading to a massive increase in the price of rice.

Before receiving permission from the Shogunate, Ido opened the government granaries and distributed the rice to the local population, but mostly he is known for introducing Sweet Potato into the region, hence ensuring that no one in Iwami died from famine.

There are more than 500 monuments in Shimane, Tottori, Okayama, and Hiroshima to the introduction of sweet potatoes by him.

On this visit I was walking the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage and the previous post was on the 500 rakan of Rakanji Temple.


  1. Fortunate that Ido took initiative to help people. Would love to see some more of that mindset these days...