souja 総社
KEY WORD : architecture / shrines
Also written 惣社. Also pronounced sousha or subeyashiro. A shrine that contains many deities, which may have individual shrines in distant parts of Japan, thus enabling worshippers easy access to such deities without the necessity of travel. Such a shrine may also be called kanjou 勧請. According to some, this custom was originated in the Nara period by a practical-minded provincial governor. He created a consolidated shrine near the provincial capital in order to eliminate the arduous task of visiting all the shrines under his jurisdiction. There were also country and village souja. Such shrines have various styles. Example: Souja Honden 総社本殿 (1657) in Okayama prefecture.


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