Wakasa Jingu-ji

Obama, Japan

Wakasa Jingu-ji is a Shinto/Buddhist shrine that is located in Obama (Japan), about 33 miles north of Kyoto. It was founded in 714, although the current buildings are Kamakura and later. Wakasa is the name of the shrine's resident kami, Wakasahiko and Wakasahime. The designation "jingu-ji" indicates that the shrine also functions as a Buddhist temple, in which Buddhist teaching enlightens the kami who in turn protect the temple and its surrounding region.

Wakasa Jingu-ji is noted for its water-offering festival, which is held each spring. During this matsuri, called Wakasa-no-Omizu-okuri, the priest pours sacred water (later page) from the shrine into the Onyu River. It is believed that the water reaches the wakasa-i (well) on the grounds of Todaiji Temple in Nara 10 days later, when an omizu-tori (Sacred Water-drawing Ritual) in Nara is held.

The photos on this page show the temple's main hall (Muromachi period; upper photo left, and middle photo) and shrine building (upper photo right, and lower photo). Both buildings are decorated with gohei, and the main hall also sports a pair of simple toro (stone lanterns).