Yoshimizu Shrine

treasure house of Yoshimizu Shrine

While Kinpusen-ji is the most popular temple in Yoshino, Yoshimizu Shrine [𠮷水神社]is the most popular shrine. Near Kinpusen-ji, Yoshimizu Shrine may not be a very big shrine, but it is worth visiting! In particular, the shrine museum has tons of artifacts and works that famous historic figures left in Yoshino. It is definitely one of a must visit shrine in Yoshino.

 

Getting to Yoshimizu Shrine

Yoshimizu Shrine is on Mt. Yoshino. To see how to get to Yoshino, see our post on Kinpusen-ji Temple.

From Kinpusen-ji, Yoshimizu Shrine is only 15 minutes away on foot. It is a short walk, but if you don’t want to walk, there are bus services in Mt. Yoshino. Just be aware that service is very limited. Also, bus service is suspended in winter and during peak sakura season.

 

Shrine Grounds

Long ago, Yoshimizu shrine was a small temple part of Kinpusen-ji Temple, called Kissui-in. However, Kissui-in became Yoshimizu Shrine during the separation of Buddhism and Shinto during the Meiji Period.

stone stairs leading up to the entrance of Yoshimizu shrine
Entrance of Yoshimizu Shrine.

The shrine is especially pretty during cherry blossoms season, so if you come Yoshino during sakura season, make sure to drop by.

main prayer hall of yoshimizu shrine
Honden: Enshrines Emperor Go-daigo and Kusunoki Mashige, the samurai who greatly aided him in the creation of his government.
(It seems Emperor Meiji came here too. “Meiji Restoration reestablishes the Southern Court”…wonder what that means exactly…

 

Shoin/ Treasure House

treasure house of Yoshimizu Shrine
Entrance of Shoin: built in 14th century, exhibits the characteristic of the very early stages of Shoin-zukuri buildings, the same style as Nijo Castle.

The truly amazing part is in its shoin (treasure house/ museum) next to honden. Though you may have to pay to get in, I strongly recommend that you see the many interesting items stored there.

Surprisingly, the shrine lets you take pictures inside! This is quite amazing as most historic sites in Japan, do not allow photography.

Painted screen by Kano Sansetsu

Inside are so many interesting things that I can’t even talk about all of them here. One of this rooms where Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the brother of the founder of Kamakura government, hid, as well as Emepror Go-daigo’s room (this room is probably a replica as the building was built after Go-diago’s death.)

gilded and painted room once belonging to emperor go-daigo in Yoshimisu shrine's treasure house
Go-daigo’s room.

Since Yoshitsune spent time here, he left many of his things. Actually, there is even a kabuki story about Minoamoto no Yoshitsune, “Yoshitsune Senbon Sakura”, set in Yoshino. He came to Yoshino with his wife, Shizu. However, since Yoshitsune was heading to Mt. Omine, where women were not allowed, Yoshitsune and Shizu separated here in Yoshino. Soon after Yoshitsune was arrested and Shizu captured, she realized she was pregnant.

suit of samurai armor once belonging to Yoshitsune
Yoshitsune’s armor

Another famous guy who came to Yoshino is Hideyoshi. Toyotomi Hideyoshi led 5,000 people including Tokugawa Ieyasu and other famous generals to Yoshino to see the cherry blossoms. He held a huge party here and as a result, they left many things in Yoshino .

golden painted screen by Kanon Eitoku
Painted screen drawn by Kano Eitoku: I’m sure this is the only one shrine that lets you take a photo of Kano Eitoku’s works.
Garden
Hokketsumon: those who practice Shugendo used to purify themselves here and then headed to Mt. Omine.

 

Yoshimizu Shrine

Address579 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115
Websitehttp://www.yoshimizu-shrine.com/
Hours of Operation Mon-Sun: 9:00-17:00
Admission Fees Shrine Grounds:Free

Treasure House/Museum:

Adults: 400 yen

High/Middle School Students: 300 yen

Elementary School students: 200yen

Coming next time,

The adventure continues…

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