Deified at this shrine is "Princess Shirataki" who taught Kiryu about textiles
Shinto shrine (Japan Heritage)
Shirataki Shrine has over 1,200 years of history, and it is said to be the place where Kiryu textiles originated. The spirit of Princess Shirataki is enshrined here together with the god of textiles, Amenoyachichi-himenomikoto (the god of textiles and spun yarn). Another reason why this is known as the place where Kiryu textiles originated comes from the legend of Princess Shirataki.
According to the legend, an attendant going from this place to Kyoto met and fell in love with Princess Shirataki, a member of the imperial court, and after they overcame their different social statuses, they married and returned here. Now as the man's wife, Princess Shirataki taught the villagers about raising silkworms and weaving techniques, and before long, they were able to present their silk goods to the imperial court.
In line with that ancient love story, this is also a popular shrine for marriage.
Shirataki Shrine has three highlights: the majestic main shrine building repaired in 1868, the advent stone, and the sacred tree.
The main shrine building has the purification hall, the hall of worship, and the inner sanctuary at its center. On the left is the kagura sacred dance stage, and the cleansing water station is on the right. There is a drawing of a dragon on the roof of the cleansing water station, so also pay attention to above. The advent stone is a large boulder over 30 meters in circumference that is in one corner of the grounds. In the past if you listened closely, you could hear the "clip-clop" sound of a loom from inside of it, but legend has it that this stopped after a misguided man stepped on it while wearing sandals. Together with Princess Shirataki, it has become an object of reverence as a "legendary weaving deity."
In addition, at the sacred dance stage every year in August, the "Shirataki Shrine Grand Kagura Performance" takes place featuring dancing and musical accompaniment which has been designated by the city as an important intangible folk culture asset, and this is also well known as an event associated with the summer.
Lastly, the sacred tree is behind the main shrine building. It's a Japanese zelkova said to be over 300 years old, and it has been designated by Kiryu as a natural monument. The trunk is 6 meters in circumference, it is in good health, and its majestic appearance makes quite the impact.
This ancient shrine was also designated a Japan Heritage cultural asset in 2015. This is a must-see if you visit Kiryu.
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- 5-3288 Kawauchicho, Kiryu City, Gunma
- From sunrise to sunset
- It takes 12 minutes by taxi from Kiryu Station on the JR Ryomo Line
- Official website
- Official website (Japanese)