Author: Richard Perkins
Photos/Videos Taken: 2021/05/28・2021/09/21
Address: 2-13-14 Shitaya, Taito-ku,
小野照崎神社 (onoterusaki jinja) is a Shintō shrine in the Taitō ward of Tokyo that’s dedicated to Ono Takamura, a scholar who was knowledgable in law and worked as a state councilor.
At Onoterusaki shrine are the traces of 喜宝院入谷庚申堂 (kihōin iriya kōshindō). This is a Buddhist temple that no longer exists that’s referred to as a 三庚申 (sankōshin), one of three 庚申 (kōshin) temples in Japan. This is a temple that passes on the Chinese Kōshin religion. Along with this temple, there’s Kongōji (Yasaka Kōshindō) in Kyoto prefecture and Shitennō-ji Kōshindō in Osaka prefecture.
The word 庚申 (kōshin) is made up of two characters, both of which correspond to animals in the zodiac. The first character 庚 (kanoe) refers to a rat, and the second character 申 (saru) refers to a monkey.
Based upon the Chinese Taoism that preaches 三尸 (sanshi—the idea that there are bugs inside one's body), the Kōshin religion is made up of several customs and beliefs. These customs and beliefs come from Buddhism, Shintō, 修験道 (shugendō—a religion which involves finding supernatural powers, saving oneself and the masses through various religious-based training in mountains), and Japanese folk beliefs.
There is another Shintō shrine on the grounds of Onoterusaki shrine. This is a fairly unusual shrine as three shrines are worshipped in this one shrine. The first shrine is 琴平神社 (kotohira jinja) which is dedicated to 素戔嗚尊 (susanoo-no-mikoto), the brother of 天照大神 (amaterasu-ōmikami—the Sun Goddess). The second shrine is 御嶽神社 (mitake jinja), which is dedicated to 国常立尊 (kuninotokotachi-no-mikoto), 国狭槌尊 (kunisatsuchi-no-mikoto), and 豊斟渟尊 (toyokumune-no-mikoto), three gods that took part in the creation of heaven, earth, and the universe. The third shrine is 三峯神社 (mitsumine jinja), which is dedicated to 伊耶那岐命 (izanagi-no-mikoto) and 伊耶那美命 (izanami-no-mikoto). These two gods took part in the creation of Japan and other gods and goddesses.
On the grounds of Onoterusaki shrine is something that, believe it or not, isn’t a rare sight at Shintō shrines, a small-scale Mt. Fuji. The Mt. Fuji here is known as the 下谷坂本の富士塚 (shitaya-sakamoto-no-fujizuka) and is built inside of yet another shrine: 浅間神社 (asama jinja). Back in the Edo period, using lava from Mt. Fuji (which was considered to be a sacred mountain) as the base of a Shintō shrine was considered to be good luck. In the Shitaya-sakamoto-no-fujizuka too, lava from Mt. Fuji is used. Every year on June 30th and July 1st, this miniature Mt. Fuji is opened up to the public and you can climb to the top of it.