Kotohiragu is one of the most revered Shinto shrines in Japan as the main shrine of Kotohira (or Konpira) Shrines across the country. Kotohiragu, or also called Kompira-san, was originally a temple dedicated to the guardian of mariners but became a shrine after the Shinbutsu-shugo (Syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism) during the Meiji Restoration (1867 - 1868).
Kotohiragu enshrines Konpira-gongen, the protectorate god of the sea. The shrine also enshrines Emperor Sutoku who was exiled to Sanuki (today's Kagawa) after the Hogen Rebellion in 1156. Visiting the shrine is called "Konpira-mairi" and it has been very popular since the Edo era (1603 – 1868). The main shrine of Kotohiragu stands halfway up 521 meters high Mt. Zozu-san. The approach to the shrine is a long flight of granite steps - total of 785 to the Hongu main hall and 1,368 to the innermost of the shrine. Carriers of a paid palanquin wait at the bottom to take up visitors who think the climb is too arduous.
The first notable landmark on the long climb is the O-mon Gate. Just to the right, beyond the gate, there is the temple's treasure house. A little further uphill is the reception hall known as Shoin. Built in 1659, it has some interesting screen paintings and a small garden.
Continuing the ascent, you eventually reach the large Asahi-no-Yashiro (Shrine of the Rising Sun). The hall, built in 1837 and dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu, is noted for its ornate woodcarving. From here, the short final ascent brings you to the Hongu main hall and the Ema-den Pavilion, the latter crowded with maritime offerings. Exhibits range from pictures of ships, both old and new, to models and even modern ship engines. The views from this level extend right down to the coast. Inexhaustible visitors can continue another 583 steps up to the Izutama-jinja Inner Shrine.
- Open 24 hours
- Treasure house: 8:30 - 17:00 *admission until 30 minutes before closing
- Shoin reception hall: 8:30 - 17:00 *admission until 30 minutes before closing
- No closing days
Price / Entrance Fee
- Admission Free
- Treasure house (General Exhibiton): 800 yen (General, Adult); 400 yen (Student); Admission Free (Child)
- Shoin reception hall (General Exhibiton): 800 yen (General, Adult); 400 yen (Student); Admission Free (Child)
Access / Public Transport
- 50 minutes walk from JR Kotohira Station
- 50 minutes walk from Kotoden-Kotohira Station on the Kotoden Kotohira Line
- 金刀比羅宮 (Only available in Japanese)
Address / Location
- 892-1, Kotohiracho, Kotohira-cho Nakatado-gun, Kagawa, 766-0001
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