Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Mimasaka Soja Shrine


Soja shrines were often established close to government headquarters in ancient Japan as one of the governor's duties was to offer prayers at all the shrines in his district.

For convenience, all the kami from the outlying shrines were gathered together in one place hence making the officials jobs much easier. Such was the case of this shrine in Tsuyama.

According to the shrine history, it was established first further to the west and enshrined Okuninushi. A year later when the Kokufu was established the shrine was moved here and the kami from all 65 village shrines in Mimasaka were brought here.

After the Kokufu became replaced by warrior rule the local warlords continued to support the shrine with grants of land.

The current main building was built by Motonari Mori in 1562 and it was extensively repaired in the mid 17th century.

The shrine is built in the Nakayama-zukuri style, unique to this area. In the early 20th century it was made a National Treasure but has since been downgraded to an Important Cultural Property.

The previous post in this series on the fifth day of my walk along the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage was on the nearby Nakayama Shrine, the ichinomiya of the province.


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