Ikuta Shrine 生田神社
Ikuta Jinja, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan in Kobe.
Credit: Carles Tomás Martí
The main building, haiden of Ikuta Jinja shrine in Kobe.
The origin of Kobe
This is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, it is around 18 centuries old. Sometimes the entrance of the Ikuta Shrine is filled with advertisements for local crafts. Don't be deceived, this is a demonstration of the importance of the temple to the city.
From the outside it does not look like anything special. However the Ikuta-jinja Shrine marked the history and geography of Japan.
Small in size...
Located in the center of Kobe, the Ikuta Shrine is the archetype of the Shinto santuary. Backing onto a small forest, it was the scene of some of the battles of the Genpei War, a conflict that began the Kamakura era. (1185 - 1333) In contrast to the violence, the Ikuta Shrine is now a serene place, rhythmed by the sound of its small waterfall. Behinds its apppearance of a neighborhood sanctuay that is rarely invaded by visitors (except during the matsuri), the Ikuta has a hidden history.
Big... in History
According to the Nihon Shoki, which chronicles the early history of Japan, it was founded in 201 by Empress Jingu. Naturally, the city grew around it. Later, in 806, the emperor assigned forty kande, families dedicated to temples, to the maintenance of the Ikuta Shrine. In Japanese the kanji of Kanbe (神戸) can be pronounced... Kobe! The area around the shrine thus took the name that now refers to the whole city.