Short Trip to Yahiko Shrine – Yahiko, Niigata, Japan
Yahiko jinja (弥彦神社), also known as Iyahiko-jinja is a Shinto shrine in the village of Yahiko, Nishikanbara District, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It is the ichinomiya of Echigo Province.
The shrine is located within Sado-Yahiko-Yoneyama Quasi-National Park and is on the eastern base of Mount Yahiko, a 634-meter sacred mountain which forms the shintai of the shrine.
The foundation date of Yahiko Shrine is prehistoric, and the shrine was referred to as “ancient” in a poem even in the Nara period Man’yōshū. Yahiko Shrine was thus already well established when a new building was created by Imperial edict in the 8th century.
The enshrined kami is Ame-no-Kaguyama-no-Mikoto (天香山命) appears in the Kojiki, and is said to have arrived in Echigo from the heavens to teach the inhabitants fishing, rice cultivation, salt production and the other basics of farming.
The subsequent history of the shrine is uncertain and often contradictory, as most old records have been lost in fires and other disasters over the years.
The shrine was well patronised by the military class, and the shrine treasury has a Muromachi period Ōdachi Japanese sword which is an Important Cultural Property of Japan as well as amor and swords donated by Minamoto no Yoriie, Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Uesugi Kenshin.
During the Edo period, the daimyō of Takada Domain, Matsudaira Tadateru granted the shrine estates with a kokudaka of 500 koku.
The present shrine structures were rebuilt in 1916. The earlier shrine buildings were destroyed by a 1912 fire which started in the village.