The History of Tamasaki Shrine

Tamasaki Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Ichinomiya, Chiba, Japan.
Ichinomiya is located at the south end of Kujukuri beach, part of Boso Peninsula, and is blessed with a mild climate throughout the year. By examining the ruins and shell mounds (Kaizuka), it appears that people were present in the area from the Jomon-Yayoi period.

Tamasaki Shrine was highly regarded and was listed on the *1)"Engi Shiki Jinmyocho" archives formulated in the Heian period. The shrine was well respected by the Japanese Imperial Court, local powerful families and Japan's feudal lords and was therefore given the prestigious status, *2)"Kazusa no kuni Ichinomiya."

However, it is unknown when and why this shrine was constructed as most of the buildings, treasure, and documents related to the shrine were burned during Wars in Eiroku period. The shrine’s rich history is preserved by the local community and can be witnessed from September 10-13 when the shrine holds an annual festival dating back as far as 1,200 years.

The festival is called "Kazusa no Hadaka Matsuri Festival" or "Junisha Matsuri Festival" and is also known as the representative festival of the Hamaori Shinji ritual. A large number of people from all over the Kanto region come to see this spectacular event.

*1)Engi Shiki
The 50-volume Engi Shiki is a collection of regulations concerning Japan's governmental administration compiled during the "Engi" period (early Heian period). Volumes 9 and 10 of the “Engi Shiki” are the Jinmyocho (the list of shrines).
*2)Kazusa no kuni Ichinomiya
"Ichinomiya" literally means ‘first shrine’ (most distinguished shrine) and indicates the ranking of a shrine during the Heian period. In each region, the most prestigious shrine that was visited by the local governor or powerful families naturally became the "Ichinomiya."

The origin of the Name, Tamasaki Shrine
There are various stories about the origin of the name, Tamasaki Shrine. The name came from a combination of Kujukuri Beach, which was previously called "Tama no Ura," and "Taito-saki," where the shrine was located.

How have shrines developed in Japan?

In ancient times, there were many places that enshrined Kami (deity or deities). They did not look like the shrine pavilions that are widely seen today. Deities were believed to be depicted in large trees, rocks, and mountains and the surrounding areas were also believed to be sacred. Temporary outdoor ritual sites were firstly constructed, and were further developed into indoor ritual sites to protect from the wind and rain. The indoor ritual sites have repeatedly changed throughout the years due to the influence of Chinese temples, to become the Shinto shrines that can be seen all over Japan today.