Aburahi ShrineA Constantly Changing, Multi-faceted Shrine Watching over the City of Koka
With a history spanning more than 1,100 years, Aburahi Shrine was venerated by people of all kinds throughout the ages. Once it served as a gathering place of the Koka Bushi* and now it played a cultural role as a shooting place of movies and TV dramas. The better one gets to know Aburahi Shrine, the more various aspects it reveals.
*Bushi is a synonym of Samurai. Koka Bushi.is one of the widely known Ninja tribes.
HistoryVenerated as a Shrine to the Deity of War and Oil(abura)
Aburahi Shrine’s name appears in the Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku, a histrorical document completed in 901. The name Aburahi derives from a legend that once upon a time the peak of a nearby mountain began to glow brightly, and then the deity Aburahi descended to that peak. The mountain is now called Aburahi-dake, and it is believed that the spirit of Aburahi Shrine’s deity resides there.
During Sengoku Jidai (age of warlord) in the 15th and 16th centuries, the shrine was worshipped by many Koka Bushi as a shrine dedicated to the deity of war. Today, companies that related to oil (abura) also place their faith in the shrine, due to its name.
Koka Samurai and Aburahi ShrineA Place Where the Koka Bushi Gathered in an Age of Warlord
The Koka Bushi had been active from the Muromachi period through the Sengoku Jidai (1336–1585). Many of them dwelled in the region Aburahi Shrine is located. They regarded the shrine as central to their faith. The religious rite, Todo-sai which is held every five years, started in 978. The Yakkofuri procession that takes place during this rite is a representation of the Koka samurai’s processions of the Muromachi period to visit the shrine.
NatureExperience the Beauty of the Changing Seasons, Surrounded by Trees
There are no tall buildings around Aburahi Shrine. Instead, it is surrounded by trees of all kinds, such as Japanese cypresses and cedars. This mystical environment which is cut off from the everyday life, has a mysterious effect on you to become positive about everything.
The shrine offers landscape as it was 500 years ago. It is because there is nothing to disturb the atmosphere that the shrine’s own natural environment stands out. In spring there are cherry blossoms, in summer fresh green foliage, in fall the leaves changing their color, and in winter it is covered with snow. You will meet the exquisite views that shows each season at their best.
ArchitectureThe Surrounding Cloisters in Harmony with Nature and Silence
Aburahi Shrine was built in the architectural style typical in the Muromachi period and the Momoyama period (1492–1590). Its main hall, hall of worship, two-storied gate, eastern cloister, and western cloister are National Important Cultural Properties. The gate, the hall of worship, and the main hall are positioned in a straight line, encircled by cloisters featuring raised deck floors, which is very rare style among Japanese shrines.
These ancient architectures, surrounded by trees, including an enormous Koya-Maki (umbrella pine), creates silent harmony with nature. This breathtaking, elegant environment is popular filming place for movies and TV dramas, notably of Samurai pieces.
Cultural PropertiesDiscover Artifacts that Evoke Bygone Days
Beside the fact that archtectures of the shrine themselves are treasure as National Important Cultural Properties, there is Koka Museum of History and Folklore within the premises of Aburahi Shrine, in which you can explore a large number of cultural properties.
On display are valuable artifacts such as Koka Bushi armor, and old documents that bear witness to the Koka area’s extensive history. The mask of Fuku-Dayu (god of rice harvest) and Zuzuiko (a doll which is believe to have a power to make a good harvest) fascinated Masako Shirasu, well-known author and collector of fine arts.