Jan 25, 2024 68 views

Harimano-Kuni Sohsha Shrine – A historic shrine protecting Harima Province|It has Gods of 174 deities in 16 counties and one of the largest tower gates in Japan

Harimano-Kuni Sohsha is located near Himeji Castle. It is a historic shrine that enshrines 174 deities from 16 counties in the former province of Harimano-Kuni, which occupied the southwestern part of present-day Hyogo Prefecture. There are many items and events that allow visitors to experience traditional Japanese culture, such as amulets, red seals, and festivals. Why not visit to pray for happiness and health on your way home from Himeji Castle?

・How to get to Harimano-Kuni Sohsha

Get off at JR Himeji Station and walk about 15 minutes.

From the north exit of JR Himeji Station, go straight north on Otemae Street and turn right at Otemae Intersection West, where you will find Harimano-Kuni Sohsha Itate-Hyouzu-Jinja.

It takes about 15 minutes on foot, or 1 meter if you take a taxi. Located right next to Himeji Castle, it is recommended as a detour after sightseeing.

・Gods enshrined in shrines

Harimano-Kuni Sohsha Itate-Hyouzu-Jinja is called “Sohsha-san” or “God of Sohsha. The shrine enshrines various gods of Harimano-kuni and is located near Himeji Castle.

Harimano-kuni is the name of the old country that occupied the southwestern part of present-day Hyogo Prefecture, including Himeji City in the center, Miki and Akashi in the east, Ako in the west, and Shiso and Kamikawa in the north.

The main shrine enshrines Itate-no-Okami, the god of tree planting, who is said to have planted trees and made Japan a green country, and Hyouzu-no-Okami, the god of marriage.

In the back of the main hall, 174 deities from 16 counties that are seated in Harimano-Kuni are enshrined.

・Sohsha Gomon, the largest gate in Japan

The Sohsha Gate on the west side of the shrine is one of the largest gates in Japan, measuring 26 m wide and 16 m high. It was demolished once during the Taisho period (1912-1926), but was rebuilt in 2006.

It has a three-story structure: the first floor is used as an awarding office for amulets and a reception desk for visitors, the second floor is a cultural property exhibition room where valuable materials are stored, the third floor is a temple and observation room.

The classical beauty created by the layering of vermilion, white, and gold is breathtaking. Be sure to take a picture with the gate.

・”Nademimizuku” will bring you a blessing from God

Entering the shrine grounds through the front shrine gate, visitors will find a statue of a “mimizuku (horned owl),” a divine messenger of the Sohsha shrine.

It is said that by stroking the image of the horned owl, visitors can receive the divine virtues of God.

・”Omamori” and “Goshuin stamp” are available as a memento of your trip

After visiting the shrine, why not buy an “Omamori” as a memory of your trip?

The “Shiawasesan-Mamori,” which contains the blessings of the gods from all over Japan assembled at the Mitsuyama Grand Festival in an amulet, will exorcise misfortunes and evil spirits and lead everyone to happiness.

“Enmusubi-Mamori” is recommended for the fulfillment of love. Because of the many deities enshrined at the shrine, there is a wide variety of amulets available.

Gosyuin (red seal) is a proof of visiting a shrine. Each shrine has a different design, and many Japanese collect Gosyuin.

The design of this shrine’s Gosyuin is simple. It has “Itate-Hyouzu-Jinja” written in the center and the symbol of a horned owl, a messenger of God, in the upper right corner.

・Let’s go to the festival!

The Sohsha Summer Festival, held annually on July 10-11, and the Shimotsuki Grand Festival, an autumn festival on November 13-16, attract many visitors who come from outside the prefecture to experience the traditional Japanese culture of festivals.

On the second day of the Sohsha Summer Festival, at 7:00 p.m., a shrine maiden sprinkles hot water on worshippers by waving a bamboo branch dipped in hot water, praying for their safety and good health.

It is said that splashing hot water will help one get through the hot summer months. Visitors can also receive the used bamboos as good luck charms.

The “Shimotsuki Matsuri” is the last autumn festival in this area. This festival is held to celebrate the founding of Harimano-Kuni Sohsha on November 15, 850 years ago.

Traditional Japanese entertainment such as dance, shamisen, and taiko drums are performed over four days from November 13 to 16 every year. During the festival, a portable shrine also makes an appearance, adding to the excitement of the festival.

Also known as the “Himeji Festival,” this is one of Himeji’s representative festivals, so be sure to schedule a visit.



Harimano-Kuni Sohsha Itate-Hyouzu-Jinja

  • official
  • ins
  • Yes
  • No
  • Wi-Fi
  • Toilet
  • locker
  • Restaurant On-site
  • Parking
  • foreign language brochure
    foreign language
190, Soshahonmachi, Himeji, Hyogo
Business hours
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
(Last entry March - April , September - October 6:00 p.m./May 7:00 p.m./November - February 5:30 p.m.)
Regular holiday
No holidays
Admission free
Cash only
Related link

This article is current as of Jan 19, 2024. It may differ from the latest information.