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Omi Jingu Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji (Tenchi 天智天皇) who moved the capital from Asuka, Nara to Otsu in 667 at the location of this shrine. Otsu was therefore once the capital of Japan.
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Omi Jingu is noted for competitive karuta card games. The Japanese national championship tournament of competitive karuta is held in January at Omi Jingu (since the mid-1950s).
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The winner of the men's division is called Meijin and the winner of the women's division is called Queen. The popular manga/anime Chihayafuru has brought international attention to karuta.
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In late 2013, the Keihan Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line in Otsu had trains painted in the Chihayafuru design to promote a Chihayafuru exhibition at Omi Shrine. Omi Shrine is near Omi Jingu Station.
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Chihayafuru exhibition poster.
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Inside the Keihan Line train with Chihayafuru.
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Along the way from Omi Jingu-mae Station to Omi Jingu Shrine, there are two sites of the old Omi-Otsu Palace built when Japan's capital was located here in 667. 近江大津宮錦織遺跡 MAP
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National Historic Site of Omi-Otsu Palace building in Nishikori. Thirteen large pillar holes of a long building was first discovered here in 1974. Otsu was Japan's capital for only 5 years from 667. 近江大津宮
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Before this site at Nishikori in Otsu was unearthed, it was uncertain exactly where the Otsu Palace was located. In 1978, further archaeological evidence showed that this was indeed where the main palace building was. 近江大津宮
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Monument about the Nishikori place name. 錦織
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Monument about the Nishikori place name, originating from brocade weavers in this area. 錦織
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Near the first Otsu Palace site is this second site of the Otsu Palace's main building when Otsu was Japan's capital for 5 years from 667. Now an open space. 近江大津宮錦織遺跡
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Second site of the Otsu Palace at Nishikori. MAP
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Second site of the Otsu Palace at Nishikori is a National Historic Site called Omi-Otsu-no-Miya Nishikori Iseki.
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Scale model of the Otsu Palace displayed at the Otsu History Museum.
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About the scale model
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Built in 1940, Omi Jingu Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji who moved the capital to Otsu in 667 at the location of this shrine. Otsu was therefore once the capital of Japan. MAP
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Path to shrine. Omi Shrine is a short walk from Omi Jingu-mae Station on the Keihan Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line.
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Steps to Rōmon Gate, the shrine's most outstanding structure. (楼門)
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Omi Jingu Shrine's Rōmon Gate (楼門)
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Omi Jingu Shrine's Rōmon Gate (楼門)
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Omi Jingu Shrine's Rōmon Gate (楼門)
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Poetry
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Gift shop and clock museum in background. 時計博物館
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Sotokairo corridor (外廻廊), Jinpu-Juyosho shop selling souvenirs (神符授与所), and Rōmon Gate (楼門)
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Sun dial. Another one in the background as well. Hidokei I (日時計1: Sundial I)
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Hidokei II (日時計2: Sundial II)
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Water clock (clepsydra). Emperor Tenchi made Japan's first clock which was a water clock. Hence, the shrine is associated with clocks.
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About the water clock.
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Gehaiden Hall (Outer Haiden 外拝殿)
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Gehaiden Hall (Outer Haiden 外拝殿)
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Inner side of Omi Jingu Shrine's Rōmon Gate (楼門).
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Naihaiden Hall (Inner Haiden 内拝殿)
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Naihaiden Hall
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Corridor
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Used New Year's decorations
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Karuta Festival poster
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The Shamusho Shrine office I (社務所I) serves as the Karuta Matsuri tournament venue.
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Karuta Festival. The narrator (standing) recites one of the poems and the contestants must search for and claim the card written with the poem.
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Karuta cards with verses from famous poems
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Yabusame horseback archery is held on the first Sunday in June from 12:30 pm. (Used to be held on Nov. 3.) I believe this is Shiga's only authentic yabusame.
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The yabusame horse track. They first hold a Shinto ceremony at the shrine.
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Official yabusame website here.
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Reserved seating available for a few hundred yen.
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The archers first held a prayer ceremony in the Naihaiden Hall.
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After the ceremony, they leave the worship hall and head for the horses.
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The first target.
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Three targets and each archer galloped at full speed to try and hit all three targets. Each archer made several runs and it was dramatic to watch.
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I came to see this to pray for a good Year of the Horse in 2014, the following year.
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My YouTube video of Omi Shrine's yabusame horseback archery on Nov. 3, 2013.
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Hit target
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Resupply of arrows on the way back.
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Now a much smaller target.
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