Tanzan Shrine [談山神社]

Thirteen-storied Pagoda of Tanzan Shrine
Thirteen-storied Pagoda of Tanzan Shrine

Shinbyo-Haisho of Tanzan Shrine
Shinbyo-Haisho of Tanzan Shrine

Tanzan Shrine ("Tanzan jinja" in Japanese) is a Shinto shrine.

The shrine is in the mountain area called Tônomine (多武峰) about 600 meters above sea level.
It is located about 5 km east of Asuka village and about 7 km south of Sakurai station of JR and Kintetsu railways.

Originally, this shrine was founded as a Buddhist temple enshrining Fujiwara Kamatari (614-669) in 678.

In the early 7th century, Soga family had controlled the government of Japan by abuse of power.

In 645, Emperor Tenji and Kamatari had a confidential talk for launching a coup d'etat in this place.

Two month later, the coup was successful and Soga-no-Iruka, the head of Soga family, was killed in a palace in current Asuka village.

After that, new government based on Emperor was established and that became an important incident in the ancient period.

The word of "Tanzan" means "mountain for talking".

Torii gate of Tanzan Shrine
Torii gate of Tanzan Shrine

Approach to Shinbyo-Haisho
Approach to Shinbyo-Haisho
Photo by Rettou Houmotsukan

The temple developed from the ancient times to the medieval period.
But it repeated the destruction by civil war and reconstruction many times.

In 1869, the Buddhist temple was changed to Shinto shrine by a policy of the Meiji government.
The main temple became the shrine for Shinto, but other many buildings remained.

Honden of Shinbyo-Haisho
Honden of Shinbyo-Haisho
Photo by Rettou Houmotsukan

Roumon gate of Tanzan Shrine
Roumon gate of Tanzan Shrine

There is Honden (本殿, Main shrine) that Fujiwara Kamatari was enshrined at the north end of the precinct.
It was built in 701 and was rebuilt in 1850.

It is known that this building was the model of Nikko Toshogu shrine.

To the west of Honden, there is attractive Thirteen-storied Pagoda (十三重塔).

It was built in 678 and was rebuilt in 1532.
This is the only wooden thirteen-storied pagoda in the world.

Thirteen-storied Pagoda of Tanzan Shrine
Thirteen-storied Pagoda of Tanzan Shrine

Lanterns of Shinbyo-Haisho of Tanzan Shrine
Lanterns of Shinbyo-Haisho

There is Shinbyô-Haisho (神廟拝所) in the west part of the precinct.

It was built in 679 and was rebuilt in 1668.
We can enter into this building and see some Buddha statues and wall paintings.

And, it has the terraces and many lanterns are hung along the terraces.

Buddha statue of Tanzan Shrine
Buddha statue of Tanzan Shrine

Tanzan Shrine in autumn
Tanzan Shrine in autumn

In the precinct, there are about 3,000 maple trees.
The colored leaves are very attractive, and the good season is from mid-November to early December.

By the way, it is said that Emperor Tenji and Fujiwara Kamatari played Kemari at the first time in Japan.

Kemari is a game that a player kicks a ball high into the air and the other player receives the ball without dropping it then kicks it again.

The game was introduced from China, and it is said that one of the origins of soccer.

In Tanzan Shrine, Kemari Festival is held on April 29 and November 3.
The players wearing the ancient costume perform Kemari games in the precinct.

Tanzan Shrine

How to get here

Get off at Sakurai station.
By Osaka Line of Kintetsu Railway, about 47 minutes from Osaka-Uehonmachi.
By JR Sakurai Line, about 30 minutes from Nara.

Then, by route bus, about 25 minutes from Sakurai station (South exit) to Tanzan-jinja stop.

Hotels around Tanzan Shrine

Hotels around Tanzan Shrine

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