Suwa taisha

Suwa taisha (諏訪大社)

Harumiya hei-haiden
Address Nagano prefecture, Japan.
Glossary of Shinto

Suwa taisha (諏訪大社), or Suwa Grand Shrine, is a Shinto shrine in Nagano prefecture, Japan. Over 1200 years old, it is one of the oldest shrines in existence, and is mentioned in the Kojiki, an 8th-century text. It consists of four building complexes, the Maemiya (前宮 lit. old shrine), the Honmiya (本宮 main shrine), the Harumiya (春宮 spring shrine), and the Akimiya (秋宮 autumn shrine).[1]


Like others among Japan's oldest shrines, Suwa Taisha does not have a honden, the building that normally enshrines a shrine's kami. This is because its objects of worship (shintai) are the mountain the shrine stands on (at the Kamisha) and a shinboku (神木 divine tree) (at the Shimosha).[2]

Suwa shrine was designated as the chief Shinto shrine (ichinomiya) for the former Shinano province.[3]

From 1871 through 1946, Suwa was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the highest range of ranked, nationally significant shrines.

Branch shrines

Suwa Taisha's component shrines are located in Chino, Suwa and Shimo Suwa, next to Lake Suwa.[1]

Suwa Taisha is the head shrine of the Suwa network of shrines, composed of more than 10 thousand individual shrines.[1]


Suwa Taisha is the focus of the famous Onbashira festival, held every six years. The Ofune Matsuri, or boat festival, is held on August 1, and the Senza Matsuri festival is held on February 1 to ritually move the spirits between the Harumiya and Akimiya shrines.


  1. 1 2 3 "Shrines and Temples". Suwa-taisha shrine. Japan National Tourist Association. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  2. "Suwa Shinkō". Encyclopedia of Shinto. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  3. "Nationwide List of Ichinomiya," p. 2.; retrieved 2011-08-010

Coordinates: 36°04′31″N 138°05′29″E / 36.07528°N 138.09139°E / 36.07528; 138.09139

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