When It Comes To Bouts, Leave It To Ojiyama’s Makekirai-Inari

The History of Ojiyama’s Makekirai-Inari

In Kawaramachi, where numerous traditional monuments and buildings from the past are still being preserved, located in the vicinity of Ojiyama Park and on the east side of the remains of Sasayama Castle, lies the temple called Ojiyama’s Makekirai-Inari. Sometimes called Makekirai Shrine, there is a rather unusual legend surrounding the origins of its name.

The story leads us to the first half of the 19th century. There was a sumo match organized in Edo (Tokyo’s former name), a quite special one held in front of the shogun. Sasayama feudal lord’s sumo wrestlers were losing one after the other, when all of a sudden a group of wrestlers appeared in front of the feudal lord – it was Heizaemon Ojiyama, and his fellow wrestlers. To much of everyone’s surprise, all of their matches ended up as victories! After having witnessed such a marvelous turn of events, the lord wanted to reward them for their effort and skills, but they were nowhere to be spotted. He found out later on that the names of the great wrestlers were exactly the same as the names of some of the local Inari shrines.

It’s believed that it might have been Inari, the god of harvests, trying to help the lord who hated losing. Nowadays, this shrine is said to be a power spot that ought to get any wish regarding job-hunting, matches and exam-passing, business success, as well as other victory-type wishes, fulfilled by the god Inari.

The Miracles of Ojiyama’s Makekirai-Inari

Perhaps the most beautiful scenery of this shrine is the impressing row of torii gates, starting with the stunning red and gloriously big ones, leading the path towards the honden (the main shrine). It is a sight truly befitting Japan’s idea of beauty and elegance, mixed with tradition.

Somewhere in the middle of a 200-step tall stairs, lies Hirayoshi-Inarisha. It is believed to protect the health of one’s legs and loins. And, towards the end of the stairs, you’ll find a shrine dedicated to protecting children, where you can entrust your prayers regarding a safe birth, or children’s well-being – the so-called Kishimojinja. Across this shrine, there lies Tsunetomi-Tennosha, whose deity is believed to be the protector of scholars and education. Further on, you’ll notice the main shrine, Inari-Honden, where Dakiniten, the god protector of the earth, is enshrined. This god will not only bring you the good results relating any kind of a match, a battle, or a bout, but will also keep you safe, and help you recover from a disease, and such. On the opposite side of the honden, is Makekirai-Heizaemonsha, marked with a distinctive sumo-wrestling ring, dohyo.

Further on, you’ll notice a walking route named Makekirai’s Road, that leads through the Ojiyama Park. For an exciting and delightful experience, let the path lead you through season-depicting surroundings – in spring, you’ll be welcomed by sakura (cherry) blossoms, during the rainy season, you’ll admire the elegant hydrangea flowers, and in the autumn the vivid autumn foliage ought to mesmerize with their bright colors. It is an excellent opportunity to take in both the “makekirai”, or the “winning” power, and the captivating scenery of Ojiyama’s nature.

Information and the Map:

Name: Ojiyama’s Makekirai-Inari (Ojiyama-Heizaemon-Inari Shrine)
Address: Sasayama, Kawaramachi 92
Phone Number: 0795-52-0655
Website:http:// www.makekirai.com/ (Japanese)
Access: get off at Sasayama-guchi Station of JR Fukuchiyama Line, then ride the Shinki Green Bus bound for Sasayama, get off at Tatsumachi bus stop, and walk for about 10 minutes