main shrine rituals and benefits
In the previous article, it’s explained that the Japanese have worshiped and cherished various gods since ancient times. It introduces what prayers people have offered to the shrines, the main ritual objects of the shrines scattered around Japan, and their benefits.
Shinmeisha Shrine’s head shrine is the Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, which is dedicated to Amaterasu appearing in Japanese mythology. This Amaterasu is considered as the ancestor of the imperial family, the general god of the Japanese people, and has been revered as the sun god and agricultural god. Therefore, it has a tight connection with the history of Japan, and the Japanese have especially valued the Ise Shrine, where the Amaterasu is enshrined. It is said that when one visits this Shinmeisha Shrine, he/she will get benefits such as warding off illness, healing the sick, inviting good luck, and prospering the land.
It is believed that visiting an Inari Shrine will bring benefits such as a plentiful harvest of five grains, prosperous business, good relations, industrial rise, family safety, traffic safety, and improvement of entertainment. When explained in this way, it is regarded as a very versatile god. However, the Inari Shrine, which is the object of rituals of Inari, is considered as the agricultural god that symbolizes rice. For the Japanese, who have been farming rice as the primary staple food for a long time, lack of sufficient crops due to severe weather means suffering from hunger. Therefore, it was the most famous for the plants to grow, and the god has been enshrined who control agriculture. The head shrine of this Inari Shrine is Fushimi Inari-Taisha, which is one of the most famous shrines in Japan because of the many Torii gates in Kyoto.
Hachiman is worshiped at Hachimansha Shrine. It is the deity of the emperor, who was said to have existed in ancient times. Samurai worshiped this god throughout Japan because this god is for wars and martial arts. Since this Hachiman is believed to bring the benefits of victories with battles and promotions in society, it could be understood that many samurai worshiped. There are tens of thousands of Hachiman shrines all over Japan, and Usa Jingu in Oita is the head shrine.
Tenjin, which is considered a generic name of all gods living in heaven, is enshrined in Tenjin Shrine. However, the most significant number of shrines enshrined at this shrine is Michizane Sugawara, a nobleman who existed more than 1,000 years ago. The reason why the Japanese worshiped this god was that people were afraid that this person with causing the continuation of natural disasters such as thunder, great fire, and plague after his death. Then, he was worshiped as a god of heaven with the exceptional ability to manipulate nature. However, as time passed, people began to enshrine this god for learning because Mr. Sugawara was re-evaluated as a person who was excellent in his life. So when one visits a Tenjin Shrine, he/she will benefit from academic improvement, agricultural protection, sick healing, and passing exams.
There are about 25,000 Suwa Shrines throughout Japan, and Suwa Taisha in Nagano Prefecture is revered as the head shrine. The blessed gods are Takeminakata and his wife introduced in Japanese mythology. By visiting this god reflecting the mountain and water environment in the area where the head shrine is blessed, there are benefits such as agricultural production, good luck, and transportation safety.
Different shrines are spread all over Japan, but when one goes to worship, he/she will be able to gain more benefit by checking which god is enshrined and what kind of history and background it has.