When I used to work near 大宮Omiya as early as five years ago, I took the the 京福電鉄嵐山線Keifuku Railway Arashiyama Line, also known as 嵐電Randen, to work. One of the stations along the way was “車折神社Kurumazaki-jinja”, or “Kurumazaki Shrine”, which pretty much opens right in front of the back entrance to the shrine; although I was interested in checking it out sometime since learning of it, that time didn’t come until January 2011 in the middle of the Japanese New Year holiday when Rika and I made plans to meet up for which I suggested doing some 初詣hatsumohde, or visiting a shrine for the first time in the new year, to which she agreed without hesitation.
Of course we took the Randen and started from the back of the shrine grounds.
清めの社Kiyome no Sha (Purifying Shrine) with a cone-shaped mound of power stones dating back to when the shrine took on its current name that grants prayers…these stones are also found in a specific talisman and good-luck charm sold at the shrine.
Both of us were unfamiliar with the shrine when we arrived but little by little we discovered that entertainers came here to pray for success (as well as visitors coming to pray for economic fortune, warding off of evil, matchmaking and studies)…I can see that being easy with the nearby 東映太秦映画村Toei Kyoto Studio Park where many a film or TV drama have been filmed.
The shrine got its name, 車折kuruma-zaki, literally meaning “broken car”, when the shafts of 後嵯峨天皇Emperor Go-Saga’s carriage broke in front of the shrine preventing him from moving on. The enshrined deity is 清原頼業Yorinari Kiyohara, a calligrapher and Confucian scholar during the late 平安時代Heian Period.
the basin where one washes his hands before praying before the 本殿honden (main shrine)
the 中門nakamon (central gate)
There was a booth in front of the main shrine for an event, 節分祭Setsubun Matsuri, or End of Winter Festival, on February 3rd.
For ￥100, one could buy a 人形hito-gata, or a piece of paper cut into the shape of a person, upon which one wrote his name, age and gender and finished by blowing on it three times before putting it into the collecting box; the day of the festival, these papers that carried the sins and impurifications of those who wrote them would be burned so that those people would be purified…Rika wrote one.
the main shrine
a closer look inside
the shrine office
おみくじo-mikuji (fortune slips), one of which Rika ended up getting, in front of the shrine office
a large replica of the おふだ型の祈念神石o-fuda-gata no kinen-shinseki (talisman containing a holy power stone) at the shrine office
芸能御守geinou-omamori, a charm for progress in one’s entertaining performance
path to the shrine for entertainers…the 玉垣tamagaki, or fence, has posts with names of famous and amateur entertainers who have visited the shrine to pray for success in their professions (each post costs ￥8500 for two years).
the 芸能神社Geinoh-jinja (Entertainment Shrine)
covered with stickers of entertainers
I knew quite a few of the entertainers in this row close to the shrine.
fence posts for each of the five Arashi members as well as one for the group out in the parking lot (do they really need this?☺)
the parking lot near the front entrance
looking back at the front entrance (that’s the 第三鳥居daisan-torii, or third gate)
大島鳥居Oshima-Torii, the gate to the shrine from the front
The area of the shrine wasn’t huge but we spent an hour or so there…it was fun reading famous people’s names on the posts and imagining them coming there. Not your usual shrine visit in Kyoto for sure.☺