Tenkawa Dai-Benzaiten Shrine

Nara, Kansai

One of the best spiritual spots in Japan
Visited and worshipped by many entertainers

Yoshino, Kumano and Koya in the Kii Peninsula to the south of Osaka have long been training centers for practitioners of Shugen-do. Situated at the center of the triangle of the three places, Tenkawa Daibenzaiten-sha is an ancient shrine worshipped by many as a spot filled with divine energy. Benzaiten is known as a goddess of art, music, literature and eloquence. The shrine together with Itsukushima and Chikubushima are the three largest Benzaiten shrines of Japan.

Benzaiten who is a guardian goddess of Buddhism is enshrined with the name of Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto after the separation of Buddhism and Shintoism, but the name, Benzaiten, is still more common. Because she is worshipped as a goddess of performing art, actors, singers, TV personalities often visit the shrine and concerts and events are held here. The shrine is also known for its deep involvement in the development of Noh play and houses many precious Noh masks and costumes. There is a brilliant Noh stage in front of the main hall and Noh is played here during the annual grand festival.

According to legend, even if a person wanted to visit the shrine for prayer, if the person was not yet ripe for the act, some accident would frustrate the visit. Such a legend attests to the mysterious and spiritual ambience of the shrine.


Tsubonouchi, Tenkawa-mura, Nara

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