Located at 521 metres (1,709 ft) halfway to the top of Mount Zōzu, the shrine stands at the end of a long path, with 785 steps to the main shrine and a total of 1368 steps to the inner shrine. Since the Muromachi period, pilgrimages to the shrine became popular, and even today usually hundreds of visitors in a day climb the steps of Mount Zōzu. On the way to the shrine is a sake museum, stores, and stones with the names of donors carved in kanji.
The principal kami of the shrine is Ō-mono-nushi-no-mikoto, a spirit associated with seafaring (also referred to as the Buddhist deity Konpira). In 1165 the spirit of Sutoku-Tennō was also enshrined.
Before the Meiji period it was known as Konpira-Daigongen(金比羅大権現?), and it stood at the head of the nationwide group of shrines bearing the names Kompira and Kotohira. The ema hall is the site of prayers for safe seafaring.