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Sumiyoshi Shrine

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  • Japanese: 住吉 大社 (Sumiyoshi taisha)

Sumiyoshi Shrine, in Osaka, was the number one shrine (ichi-no-miya) in Settsu province, and remains today one of the most significant shrines in Shinto.

Sumiyoshi is sometimes said to be the oldest harbor, or port, in Japan, and the kami of Sumiyoshi is thus associated chiefly with safe sea travel. It is linked with the kami of Takasago, in Hyôgo prefecture, as seen in the Noh play Takasago, in which the two are represented as an elderly couple. The spirit of Empress Jingû is enshrined at Sumiyoshi as well.

The shrine has strong connections to a lengthy series of emperors, beginning with Emperor Go-Murakami of the 14th century, as well as to the Minamoto clan, and Minamoto no Yoritomo in particular. According to some accounts, Tango no tsubone gave birth to Shimazu Tadahisa at Sumiyoshi, and a stone marking it as Tadahisa's supposed birthplace stands today at the shrine (Tadahisa would later go on to become the founder of the Shimazu clan, and is sometimes said to have been one of Yoritomo's sons, though this myth is generally discounted by historians today).

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