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Why Wild Boar in Shrine? -Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama-


An Unique Shrine, where wild boar is worshiped.

One of the most exciting things to do in Kyoto is to visit shrines. Since it used to be the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto is a city with full of historically important spots. Shrine is one of them. It teaches us what kind of religious belief Japanese people have. You can enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto more and more if you have an idea of what is shrine.

This is the 4th day of the series of “Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama”. If you have not read previous articles, you must check them out now!

Vol.0: Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama – How to Visit Shrine –

Vol.1: The God of Electricity? Dendengu -Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama-

Vol.2: Gold, Gold, Gold! -Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama

Vol.3: The God of Sports? – Let’s Step into the World of Kamisama-


Today I will introduce you to Goou Shrine, located in front of the Imperial Palace.

Can you see statues on both sides of Torii (the gate)? The statue like them are called “Komainu (狛犬)” , meaning “guardian dog”. So, basically, these statues are supposed to look like dogs. However, what do Komainus in this picture look like?

Yes, they are wild boars! This is really unique, and probably, you can see them only here in  Goou Shrine. Why does this shrine have wild boar as Komainus? The history of the shrine answers this question.

This Goou Shrine worships Kiyomaro Wake, who made a huge contribution to build the capital in Kyoto more than 1,000 years ago. He was serving with the emperor in the previous capital in Nara. One day, he was running away from an assassin sent by his political opponent. He got a serious injury on his legs when he was attacked by the assassin, and it made him not able to even stand up.  At that time! Suddenly 300 wild boars appeared on the scene and rescued Kiyomaro. When he managed to escape from the assassin, mysteriously, the injury on his legs was completely recovered.

After this accident, Kiyomaro played a really important role in the relocation of the capital from Nara to Kyoto. When Goou Shrine was established, Kiyomaro was worshiped as a great contributor to building the capital in Kyoto, and now he is surrounded by wild boars.

Goou Shrine, the god of legs

Because of the story of Kiyomaro, it is said that this Goou Shrine worships the god of legs. Now a lot of people visit here in order to pray for the health of their legs.


Every month on 21st, legs festival is held. People pray for the heath of their legs by turning the ring in the picture below.



Goou Shirne. It is a really unique shrine, which has wild boars as their Komainu. It is said that to visit this shrine is good for the health of your legs.

Why not visit this Goou Shrine and pray for the health of your legs?

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