A Shinto shrine with an unusual name, Tounomine, sits quietly outside Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. Tounomine is a mountain in the southern part of Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, where Danzan Shrine, dedicated to Fujiwara no Kamatari, is located, and his grave is said to be on the top of the mountain. It is said that Fujiwara no Kamatari planned the Isshi Incident with Emperor Tenji to defeat the Soga clan in the past. In other words, the place where Fujiwara no Kamatari planned the Isshi Incident, which triggered the later prosperity of the Fujiwara clan, is Tounomine, where he is buried and enshrined at the same time.
The reason why the shrine dedicated to Fujiwara no Kamatari, a figure of the Asuka period, is located in a residential area of Shinjuku, far from Nara where he was active, is because this place used to be the site of a suburban residence of the Naito family of the Takato domain. The Naito family, which claimed to be of Fujiwara descent, had the Tounomine Naito Shrine enshrined as a mansion shrine after being invited from Danzan Shrine, which enshrines their ancestor Fujiwara no Kamatari.
When the Naito family's residence was confiscated by the Meiji government, the shrine was moved to its current location outside the premises. I think it would have been better for the shrine to remain in its original location, which is now the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, in order to attract more visitors to the shrine. If so, the shrine would have been visited by many people. The current site is surrounded by houses, and although it sounds like a quiet place, it is in fact a lonely place. Not many people know that there is a shrine dedicated to a very famous person who always appears in Japanese history textbooks in such a densely populated area. There were no worshippers in the precincts of the shrine, and the place was deserted.
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