Nishinomiya Jinja (西宮神社 nishinomiyajinja) is a Shinto shrine in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, Japan. It is the head shrine of the Ebisu sect of Shinto, and it is said that there are about 3,500 shrines under it. Locals call the shrine "Ebessan". It is famous for the Tōka-Ebisu festival, which is held on January 10 every year. Particular to this festival is the "Lucky Men" race. Begun during the Edo period, participants gather in front of the shrine's main gate before 6am on the 10th of January. At 6am, the shrine's drum sounds, the gates are opened, and the assembled crowd sprints perilously 230 meters to the main hall. The top three finishers are given the title of "Lucky Men", and of those three the champion is known as the "Luckiest Man". The race has been known to attract more than 6,000 runners.
Objects of worship
Nishinomiya Shrine has three small inner shrines and each shrine enshrines one or two kami. The first shrine enshrines Nishinomiya-Ōkami, or Ebisu-no-mikoto, namely Ebisu. The kami of the second shrine are Amaterasu-Ōmikami and Ōkuninushino-Mikoto. The third shrine is for Susanoo-no-Mikoto.
It is not clear when this shrine was established. However, it is recorded that it was already at this site, under the name Ebisu-sha, and attracting many worshipers during the Heian period. For many centuries it was known as Nangu-sha, the "Southern Shrine", in reference to its status as a branch shrine of Hirota Shrine, which is located to its north in Nishinomiya. Nishinomiya Shrine itself had a similar relationship with Koshikiiwa Shrine, which was sometimes called Kita no Ebisu, meaning the Northern Ebisu.
- Nishinomiya Shrine Homepage (in Japanese)
- Nishinomiya Shrine's biggest festival "Tokaebisu" Homepage (in Japanese,one of lecturer of Kitakyushu College of Technology wrote)
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