Daikō Shrine 大皇神社

On July 2, 2017 I will be leading Kōgakkan University 皇學館大学 students and faculty on a historical tour of sites along the “Old Road of Kumano” 熊野古道. I’ve driven by this shrine for many years, but it’s only recently that I realized it even existed. It’s a beautiful shrine with trees that have been around since the medieval period, and it has ancient history. It cannot be seen from the expressway, but if you are on Route 42 (parallel to the expressway), then I recommend stopping by it.

1. An explanation of the shrine’s history.

There are five deities worshipped at this shrine. One of them is Koretaka Shinnō 惟喬親王 (844–897), who was a poet, monk, and imperial prince in the ninth century. He was the eldest son of Emperor Montoku 文徳天皇 (826–858) and was expected to become emperor after his father. However, because the Fujiwara clan had grown in power, he was unable to do so, and the throne went to someone with closer relations to the Fujiwara. Koretaka is relatively well-known as a character from the Tales of Ise.

2. The main shrine building.