Jinguji (神宮寺)

Jinguji are Buddhist temples that operated as Shinto shrines under the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism that occurred in Japan.

Origin and History

During the Asuka period in which Buddhism was first transmitted to Japan, Shinto and Buddhism had not yet integrated with one another, but in the Heian period when Buddhism began to diffuse throughout the nation, a certain degree of friction arose between the new beliefs and the ancient Japanese Shinto religion and out of this rose a syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism in which Shinto kami were considered to be the temporary forms of Buddhist deities. This led to the construction of Shinto shrines within Buddhist temples in which to enshrine the temporary kami forms (gongen) that Buddhist deities were believed to assumed.

The Shinto deity, Hachiman-shin, which served as the guardian deity of samurai families was a product of this syncretism as is suggested by his name 'Hachiman Bosatsu' and as a result he received the devout protection and worship of the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) as well as local feudal lords throughout the Kamakura, Muromachi and Edo periods.

However, this meant that such institutions had no supporting parishioners, so their numbers decreased rapidly when the majority were converted to Buddhist temples or disappeared during the anti-Buddhist movement of the Meiji period.

Those that survive today have been restored through the efforts of their chief priests.

Yoda-ji Temple

The former name of the Shingon Sect Zentsuji School bekkaku honzan (special headquarters) located in Higashikagawa City, Kagawa Prefecture.

Place Name/Station/Other

Jinguji, Yao City, Osaka Prefecture

Jinguji, Nakasu, Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture

Jingu Station on the JR Ou Main Line: Daisen City, Akita Prefecture

Surname

Jinguji