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Aritoshi Shrine in Osaka – Historic Shrine with an Ancient Legend

Aritoshi Shrine is a shrine located in Izumisano City, Osaka. The origin of the shrine dates so far back to ancient times that the details are not clear. Here I would like to introduce to you about the shrine along with its legend related to Tsurayuki Kino.


Legend of Tsurayuki Kino

The shrine is known to have a legend related to Tsurayuki Kino. Tsurayuki Kino is a nobility who lived in the Heian Period, from around the 9th to 10th century and became famous as a great poet.

According to the legend, he was on a trip and kept on horseback as he was passing by Aritoshi Shrine. Then the sky suddenly became covered with dark clouds and it began to pour and making his horse collapse and go ill, to his great perplexity.

Writer’s Photo

In association with the legend, a statue of a horse was erected in the shrine site.


Noh Play “Aridoshi” Based on the Legend

*The shrine is named “Aritoshi” but the noh play is titled “Aridoshi.”

Based on the legend, Zeami, the grandmaster of noh (a form of Japanese traditional play), wrote a drama around the 15th century, or Muromachi Period, which was about 400 years after the time when Tsurayuki lived.

In the drama, an old shrine guard with an umbrella and a torch in his hands appear in front of Tsurauki, whose horse had collapsed and was at a loss. The old man told him that the god had probably punished him for his impious behavior to pass by the shrine without dismounting from a horse.

Not having realized that he was trespassing within the shrine site, Tsurayuki was deeply awed and recited a poem of apology to the god in accordance with the old man’s advice. As soon as he finished, the horse rose up quickly and recovered its health.

Tsurayuki was very pleased by the god’s forgiveness and the old man recited a congratulatory verse and dedicated his ritual dance to the god. Then the old man told Tsurayuki that he was actually the incarnation of the god of Aritoshi Shrine and disappeared into the darkness.

The story of the noh drama comes to a close as Tsurayuki, excited by his blessed audience with the god, gets back on his journey again.

Photo by wikipedia

To make tribute to the noh story, a noh play hall was founded within the site of Aritoshi Shrine.


Relocation Due to War

Shrine Hall: Photo by wikipedia

The shrine has been moved from the original location mentioned in the legend.

During the Second World War, then Japanese army forced the shrine to move out for the construction of an air force base. But despite the great efforts made by the local residents complete the relocation of the shrine, the war ended the next year.

“Horse” and “airplane”…

As we have seen in the episodes above, the shrine somehow has had strange connections with “vehicles” and survived a long time until today.

Writer’s Photo

Actually, I visited the shrine on my bicycle and looking back at the legendary story, I had to imagine in awe what would have happened if I had kept riding my bicycle within the shrine site like Tsurayuki.

The more history you learn, the more things are brought to your mind and the more interesting your visit to historic sites can become. Information: MapOfficial Website

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Aruka Shrine: One of Sagami’s Most Ancient with Five Millennia of History
4 Actually Existing Japanese Swords with Interesting Stories

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