The grand head shrine of the around 2,300 Sumiyoshi shrines located around Japan.
The Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine boasts around 1,800 years of history and is one of the foremost shrines in Japan. The economic town “Osaka” and the trading town “Sakai” flourished with this Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine as a central focus. The Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is dedicated to the gods who are said to be the gods of the sea who have continued to watch over the safety of sea voyages since ancient times.
The key sights of Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Gohonden main shrine (National treasure)
The current gohonden was all constructed in 1810 (Bunka era year 7). The gohonden is composed of four main shrine buildings from the first to the fourth hongu and is described as being in the “Sumiyoshi-zukuri” architectural style. This is said to be one of the oldest styles in the history of shrine construction. Each of the hongu buildings has been designated as a national treasure building. (Designated on November 14, 1953.)
Soribashi Bridge (Taikobashi Bridge)
It is said that the stones that form the bridge pier were dedicated as a prayer for the growth of Toyotomi Hideyori by Yodogimi during the Keicho years. It is said that a person is purified by simply crossing over it and it has become a famous bridge that is a symbol of the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine. People cross this bridge to purify themselves from their crimes and depravity in order to approach the gods. It is steeply curved as a bridge that connects the land of men on earth to the land of the gods in the heavens and has been compared to a rainbow.
Sumiyoshi Torii Gate
This torii gate has pillars that have a square cross-section, so it is called a “kakutorii” (square torii). The use of square pillars such as this is an old style that is extremely rare and its original form is the wooden, vermilion-lacquered torii gates that stand between each hongu and the front shrine. *The name frame is made of ceramic. It was written by Prince Arisugawa Taruhito.
There are around 600 lanterns within the grounds, which were dedicated by businesses around the country. At the time, the lanterns were offered as a prayer for protection at sea and it is said that they were also meant as an advertising tower and many of them have large, graceful forms. It is also said that famous calligraphers were asked to carve the title lettering.
The camphor trees towering in one corner of the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine grounds are known as “Couple trees.” At first glance, these trees appear to be just one tree that has forked into two, but they are actually two separate camphor trees that sprouted in the same place and grew as if hugging each other. These camphor trees have nestled close to each other as if they were a married couple as they have grown into large trees. They have therefore been called couple trees and are valued greatly.
Together with the sumo rings at the Noto Province Hakui Shrine (Ishikawa prefecture) and Kozuke Province Doshi Shrine (Gunma prefecture), this is one of the three great sites for amateur sumo wrestling (Shinto ritual sumo) in Japan.