Monday, June 20, 2011
The shrine is tucked away a little to the west of Shimogamo Shrine, though it was originally located on the bank of the Kamo River nearby.
The name refers to the old "road" to Izumo, and sainokami is a later name of dosojin, the phallic stones at roadsides and crossroads that were the site of spirit-pacification rites. Plagues travelled along the roads and were experienced as demons, so these sites were to protect from such demons.
The dosojin became associated with Sarutahiko, and he is the main kami enshrined here. Also enshrined is Uzume, his wife, Ninigi, who Sarutahiko guided down to earth, Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi, the Izumo kami, and several others.
Sarutahiko took on the visage of a monkey, hence the image on the numerous ema.
It is said that in olden days women who wanted a divorce would come here to pray.