Sakaorinomiya Shrine

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The quiet, peaceful Sakaorinomiya Shrine has a very long history. It is the only Shinto shrine in Yamanashi Prefecture mentioned in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki, the two eighth-century chronicles of early Japanese history. Both tell stories of one of Japan’s most popular folk heroes, Yamato Takeru. The son of Emperor Keiko, he was a legendary warrior prince believed to have lived from circa 72 CE to circa 114 CE, whose adventures and exploits shaped early Japan.

According to legend, Yamato Takeru was passing through Sakaorinomiya Shrine when he stopped to talk to an old man tending a fire there. Via a spoken poem, the prince enquired how many nights the man had slept on his journey, and the man replied with a complimentary poem of his own. Their exchange is considered the very first renga, a form of collaborative poetry that is the precursor of tanka poetry. Yamato Takeru is enshrined as a deity at Sakaorinomiya.

With its ancient connection to a foundational form of Japanese poetry, Sakaorinomiya Shrine has long been popular with literary figures. The shrine buildings were unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1916, but were rebuilt in 1942. The secluded shrine exudes calm and is a good place for quiet contemplation.


Venue Address

400-0805 3-1-13 Sakaori, Kofu-shi

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