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Omi Jingu

The Shrine of Guidance founded by Emperor Tenji

The shrine famous for its god of good fortune, protection, academics, culture, and industry enshrines Emperor Tenji who transferred the capital from Asuka (present day Nara) to the land of Omi. Emperor Tenji enacted the Omi Code which formed the foundation of the Constitution of Japan, started the school system, and promoted industrial development by utilizing the latest technology of the time, and is revered as “a god of fortune” and “a god of guidance” for leading the fate of Japan in difficult times.

What deity is enshrined at the Omi Shrine?

The Omi Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji who transferred the capital city of Asuka (present-day Nara) to Omi. The deity is famous as the god of good fortune, protection, academics, culture, and industry.

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The shrine gained fame from the Japanese movie Chihayafuru, but why is it such a holy place for Karuta (card matching game using Hyakunin Isshu poems)?

The poem composed by Emperor Tenji that reads “Akino tano, Karihono iono, Tomao arami, Waga koromodewa, Tsuyuni nuretsutsu” (Coarse the rush-mat roof, Sheltering the harvest-hut, Of the autumn rice-field; And my sleeves are growing wet, With the moisture dripping through) is selected as the first of the hundred poems of Hyakunin Isshu, and that is why Omi Shrine is said to be the shrine for Karuta. The shrine hosts many Karuta competitions, including those for crowning the Karuta Meijin and Queen in January and the All Japan Senior High School Karuta Championship in July.

I heard that there is something rare at the shrine…

Emperor Tenji made the first water clock in Japan. In the precinct, there is a Clock Museum that exhibits clocks from all ages and countries, and the Water Clock Festival is held on the anniversary, June 10. Mounted archery also takes place on the first Sunday of June in tribute to the historical event mentioned in the Chronicles of Japan of Emperor Tenji hunting in Gamouno, practicing martial arts in Omi Country, and grazing horses in the pasture. The archery event takes place in lavish attire with a straw riding hat, a purple underarmour robe adorned in gold butterflies of the family crest, a sword, and equestrian shoes.