Hime-gamisha Shrine (Nara City) (比売神社 (奈良市))
Hime-gamisha Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Nara City, Nara Prefecture. It is built on top of a small burial mound called Hime-zuka. It is a sessha (auxiliary shrine dedicated to a deity closely related to that of a main shrine) of Nantokagami-jinja Shrine.
The enshrined deity is Tochi no Himemiko (Emperor Tenmu's daughter), and Ichikishima Hime (goddess of water) is the auxiliary deity.
According to legend Hime-zuka, is a 'the grave of a noble princesses,' and "Nihon Shoki" (Chronicles of Japan) states that 'Emperor Tenmu buried Tochi no Himemiko on April 14, 678 and Hikami no Iratsume (his wife) in 682 in the land of Ako (currently Hyogo Prefecture)', and it is thought that the 'noble princesses' may refer to these two individuals.. Ako-jinja shrine is located nearby.
In 1920 Hime-zuka became national property and placed under the management of the Nara Finance Bureau Ministry of Finance's but a shrine was built there when local volunteers were successfully granted Hime-zuka by the ministry. It was decided that the 29.7-square-meter Hime-zuka would be donated to Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, and the shinden (main shrine) would be a sessha of Nantokagami-jinja Shrine and perform its religious services.
In the summer of 1980 a ground-breaking ceremony was held with the cooperation of Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple and Kagami-jinja Shrine, and at the end of that year the topping out ceremony was held. The enshrinement ceremony was held in 1981 on the death anniversary of Tochi no Himemiko, May 10, marking the birth of Hime-gamisha Shrine enshrining Tochi no Himemiko.
Shinden – The shinden is approximately 2.5m in height and 2m in width. There is a red gate about 1.5m from the front of the shinden, which remains closed so no one can enter. A bell attached to the shinden is connected to the gate by rope, and worshippers pull on that rope to ring the bell.
Kamukata-ishi (stone god statue) - To the left facing the shinden, there is a stone approximately 1.5m tall with the engraving of a couple leaning happily close to each other, and the 'Kamukata-ishi' which enshrines four generations of emperors from Prince Otomo to Omi no Mifune and their corresponding empresses, beginning with Princess Tochi, is placed to the left of that stone.
In addition there is a place to hang ema (votive horse tablets), housing numerous ema belonging to people wishing for good matches.
There is a small stone placed in front of the area with the inscription of a song from Manyoshu (oldest anthology of Japanese poems): 'Just as there is no grass growing on the holy rocks in the river, wishing you remain unchanged as an eternal virgin.'
From Kintetsu Nara Station take Nara Kotsu bus 'Naka-Junkan' line to 'Wariishi-cho' and walk east for ten minutes.
From JR Nata Station take Nara Kotsu bus 'Shinai Junkan' line or 'Naka-Junkan' line to 'Wariishi-cho' and walk east for ten minutes.