The three kami enshrined at Mitsu Itsukushima Jinja are the three female kami of Munakata:
These kami are also known as “Michi Nushi no Muchi”, which means “the most august rulers of travel routes”, and people pray to them particularly for safe travel, whether by land, sea or air, and for protection from dangers that might come by one of those routes.
You should pay your respects to the kami when you visit the jinja. The video shows general instructions for any jinja.
To pay your respects, go to the front of the jinja, and ring the bell. Offer a coin or two in the box if you wish.
・Bow twice, deeply.
・At this point, you may offer thanks or make a request if you wish.
・Bow once, deeply.
Childcare and Contests
As the kami of this jinja are female, people have long prayed to them for the safe and healthy growth of their children, and for support in bringing them up.
The kami are also known as kami of contests, and the jinja conducts prayers for victory on behalf of Ehime FC and local school sports teams.
Over 1400 years of history
These three kami were originally enshrined at Munakata Taisha in Kyushu, on the sea route between Japan and the continent, and their divided spirits were brought here from that jinja in the late sixth century. In the early eighth century, the same kami were brought again from Itsukushima Jinja in Hiroshima Prefecture, where they had also been enshrined, and the jinja takes its name from this enshrinement.
In the thirteenth century the jinja was venerated by the leader of naval forces in the Seto Inland Sea, and in the fourteenth century the first Ashikaga Shogun granted land to the jinja after he escaped from danger to arrive at Mitsu port. However, the jinja buildings were destroyed in battles in the early seventeenth century, during the foundation of the Tokugawa Shogunate. They were rebuilt on their current site in 1602.
Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, the lords of local domains were required to travel between their domains and the capital of Edo (modern Tokyo) every year. The lords of Matsuyama domain would visit this jinja to pray for a safe journey, peace in their domain, and success with honour before taking ship for Edo at Mitsu port.
The prayer hall used to be roofed in ceramic tiles, but in 2015 it was re-roofed in copper sheets. These sheets were designed to reproduce the shape of ceramic tiles, including their thickness, which is unusual.
Mitsu Itsukushima Jinja
ADDRESS：791-8063 Ehime, Matsuyama, Kandamachi 1-7
The jinja is about a seven minutes walk from Mitsu Station, and about twenty minutes from the cruise ship docks.