Usa Jingu Shrine and Surrounding Area
Usa Jingu is widely considered to have been the starting point of Shinto and Buddhist syncretic worship, which began to take shape in the eighth century after the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. Usa Jingu soon evolved into a large shrine-temple complex where religious rites were conducted by both Shinto priests and Buddhist monks.
The syncretic form of worship was practiced for many centuries until the Meiji government ordered the separation of Shinto and Buddhism in 1868. After that, all Buddhist structures were removed from Usa Jingu and it became a purely Shinto institution. Nevertheless, certain rituals and festivals held at Usa Jingu throughout the year still reflect the shine’s syncretic roots.
These same roots can also be seen at many other sites of worship in Usa City. Several temples with historic ties to Usa Jingu now house Buddhist statuary evacuated from the shrine grounds, and some small shrines in the surrounding area still feature in important rituals first carried out in the era of syncretic worship.
If you explore Usa with this religious background in mind, you may discover even more interesting sites and stories along the way.