[Official name] Ujigami Shrine
[Location] Uji Yamada, Uji-shi, Kyoto-fu
[Gods] Uji-no-waki-iratsuko, Emperor Nintoku, Emperor Ojin
Ujigami Shrine is the oldest shrine existing in Japan, and is located across the Byodo-in with the Uji river in between. In ancient times, it was called "Uji Chinjyu Myojin", "Rigu Myojin", or "Rigu-sha", which from the modern period, changed to "Rigu Hachiman". The name "Rigu" is said that it comes from the local deity of Uji-in, and from the ruins of Uji-no-waki-iratsuko's Imperial villa. This place prospered from the Yamato era as an important place for transportation. In 646, the Uji bridge was made. From the Meiji era, the shrine was named Ujigami Shrine as it is called today. Before the Meiji era, the shrine was closely connected with the Uji Shrine. The Gods worshipped in the shrines were Uji-no-waki-iratsuko, Emperor Nintoku, and Emperor Ojin: the same as the Uji Shrine. It is not clear when and by whom the shrine was built, although there is a record of Emperor Daigo who received an oracle, building a sanctuary in 901. In the medieval and modern ages, the shrine was revered as the Ubusunagami of the village. It is said that the shrine was closely connected also with Byodo-in and the Fujiwara-ke family. In the middle of the precinct, there stands the main shrine, and in front of the main shrine, the front shrine. The precinct used to be very large including the Rigu-zan mountain, however, in the early Edo era, the east side of the mountain was ceded to another shrine; the rest was taken away by the early Meiji era. The water to wash hands, gushing out from the south of the front shrine, is called the "Kiriharasui", and is one of Uji's famous water. The precinct, in which aged trees grow thickly is very quiet, and has a clean appearance.
The powerful main shrine stands where the stone steps end, with trees in the background. The main shrine, known from the style of the building, was built in the Heian era, and is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan. Being the oldest shrine in Japan, however, the building has not maintained its original form, which makes us think of many interesting theories about the building. The front shrine is shaped so lightly and gracefully, as if it would spread its wings and fly away any moment. Also, the roof's beauty, made in the Sugarufu style is exceptional. The whole building is quite short, and made gently, almost like a palace style architecture. From some examinations later on, it is guessed that there was a large-scale reform of the building, which lead to the building we see today.
**The Famous Water of Uji: "Kiharasui"
The spring on the right-hand side of the front shrine, surrounded by the trees of Daikichi-yama mountain, is "Kiriharasui", which is one of the seven famous waters of Uji. Even today, tea ceremonies are held using this water.
The 15th Emperor of Japan. There are many legends about his birth.
He was a great man, however, it is said that he drowned himself to give the position of the Emperor to his older brother, Emperor Nintoku.
The 16th Emperor of Japan. His name is Oosazaki. He spread the benevolent government, and encouraged agriculture. He placed the capital in Takatsu no Miya in Osaka, however, because the populace were very poor, there is a legend that he exempted tax for three years. After three years of exemption from tax, it is said that he saw smoke coming out from the houses making food, and gladly said "The people's kitchen ranges have started working again." In Sakai city in Osaka, there is an Imperial mausoleum, and is also called as "Dai-sen-ryo". The whole area is four hundred and sixty-four thousand square meters, and is the world's biggest grave. This grave is in a queer shape, called the "Zenpo Koen fun". Nobody has ever been inside the grave yet.
The Tale of Genji
There is a promenade called "Sawarabi", based on the Tale of Genji. Ten out of fifty-four chapters in the Tale of Genji is set on Kyoto. From Ujigami shrine to Mimurodo lies many historic remains.