Omi Jingu Shrine

Happy 2020 Everyone! We hope to make this year our most active yet on this blog!

We’re starting off the year the way many Japanese people do, at a shrine! In particular, Omi Jingu Shrine, one of the most prominent shrines in Otsu.


Omi Jingu Shrine was constructed in 1940 and is dedicated to Emperor Tenji, who moved the capital of Japan from Asuka to Otsu in the year 667. This shrine is located in roughly the same location of the former Omi Otsu Palace during Emperor Tenji’s reign, in the western Otsu, Otuskyo area.


Omi Jingu Shrine is also known for, of all things, clocks. Emperor Tenji was known to be involved with the establishment of the first rokoku, or Japanese water clock system, and to this day Omi Jingu Shrine collects clocks of all shapes and sizes. On both the grounds and in their clock museum, one can find water clocks, sundials, fire clocks, and almost any other variety of historical or modern clock imaginable. Every year on June 10th, the Rokoku-sai, or “Clock Festival” is held at Omi Jingu Shrine.

Another event that takes place every year at Omi Jingu is Yabusame, or horseback archery. This exciting event takes place every year on the first Sunday of June, and attracts crowds of people of all ages. This is a somewhat rare event to see, so if you happen to be in the area in early June, we definitely recommend you attend!

Perhaps what this shrine is most widely known for to this day is the Japanese competitive card game, “Karuta.” The game uses a collection of 100 Japanese poems, called the hyakunin-isshu. Each poem is divided into a first part and second part, each written on a card. Players arrange randomized cards that contain the second parts of poems out in front of them, and listen for a third party to call out the first part of a poem. The objective is to be the first to touch (or slap) the correct corresponding second half of the poem. The first player to no longer have cards in front of them is the winner.

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If you have any questions about Omi Jingu Shrine or its many events, please leave a comment! And be sure to check out our video if you haven’t already.
Happy New Year!



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