Taga-taisha – 多賀大社
More than 10 shintō shrines are located in this complex: today we are going to talk about the Taga-taisha, in Tagachō, Shiga Prefecture.
What’s special about the Taga-taisha?
The Taga-taisha is located in the eastern part of Shiga Prefecture, and it is such an important shintō site that the locals usually call it “O-Taga san”, which means something like “Mr. Taga”.
Here, the ancient Japanese script Kojiki’s Izanami and Izanagi are worshipped. The shrine was built in 660 a.D., therefore it has a long history. We can found it also in the Kojiki itself:
“Izanagi Ōgami wa Ōmi no Taga ni zasunari.”
“The great god Izanagi sat in Ōmi’s Taga shrine.”
At the time of the Taga-taisha construction, Buddhism had already softly mixed with Shintō beliefs.
The complex holds more than 10 shrines; there’s also a beautiful garden, created on Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s will, to give eternal life to his mother.
At its center the famous Taikaku-bashi stone bridge is located.
Many religious festivals are held at the Taga-taisha throughout the year: the most famous one is the “Koreitai-sai”, on April 22nd. Since many characters on horseback join, this event is also called the “horse festival”.
Moreover, in the nights from August 3rd to 5th the “Mantō-sai” takes place, it is possible to see the beautiful floating lanterns.
How to get to the Taga-taisha?
・From Tokyo and Nagoya
You have to reach Maibara Station by Shinkansen (note that some trains skip this station) first, the journey takes about two hours from Tokyo and less than an hour from Nagoya. This part of the journey is covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Then transfer on the following Ohmi Railway Line and get off at Taga-Taisha Station. It takes about half an hour reaching Taga-Taisha Station from Maibara Station (depending on time, you may have to change train at Takamiya or Hikone Stations could be possible).
The shrine is 10 minutes walking from the station.
・From Osaka and Kyoto
From Osaka and Kyoto you can take the JR Kyoto Line on the Maibara/Nagahama or Tsuruga direction, and get off at Hikone Station. Here you can change again on the Ohmi Railway Line and continue your journey to Taga-Taisha Station.
The route on the Ohmi Railway Line is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
I visited Tagataisha in November, on a group tour. Many private houses are located in the nearby area, together with souvenir kiosks and different kind of shops.
Tagataisha special products the “Otagajakushi”, a kind of ladle used for washing hands or drinking water at the shintō shrines, and the Japanese sweet “Itokirimochi”. This one is so called because it is cut (kiri) with a bow string (ito), instead of a knife.
After going through Tagataisha’s stone torii I could see Taikaku bridge’s arched shape; to avoid people slipping, a part of the bridge’s floor is made of wood. I could visit many shrines, like Hinata, Tenma e Atago.
The main hall, a wooden building, is symmetric and therefore splendid. I recommend this place especially to the ones interested in Shintō shrines.
Hikone Castle and Kōga no sato Ninja Village are also interesting places, both close to Tagataisha.