Rokusho Shrine | VISIT TOYOTA CITY‐Toyota City Official Travel Site-

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    Rokusho Shrine

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    Rokusho Shrine is a Shinto sanctuary that traces its history back to Matsudaira Chikauji (d. 1394?), the founder of the Matsudaira samurai family that ruled the lands around the village of Matsudaira from the late 1300s onward. According to legend, Chikauji established the shrine on the summit of Mt. Rokusho so that the enshrined deities would watch over his family who lived in the valley below. However, the mountain itself is thought to have been worshiped as the abode of the divine since distant antiquity, and when a formal shrine was first built on it is unknown. Rokusho Shrine’s upper shrine (kaminomiya) still stands on the mountain, whereas the lower shrine (shimonomiya) is located in a valley to the northwest.

    Like many of the other shrines and temples associated with the Matsudaira, Rokusho Shrine enjoyed the protection of the numerous branches of the family. It held significant lands throughout the Edo period (1603–1867) when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate, founded by Matsudaira Chikauji’s descendant Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616). The buildings of the lower shrine have elements of Edo-period architecture. These include an imposing worship hall (haiden) and behind it a smaller main sanctuary (honden) whose roof is covered with thin wooden shingles. Across the road from these structures is a thatched stage built for folk kabuki and other performing arts that were popular in the region from the late Edo period until the early 1900s.

    Rokusho Shrine: Stage

    The thatched-roof stage at Rokusho Shrine, built in 1872, is a tangible reminder of the culture of folk performing arts that flourished throughout central Japan from the 1800s to the early 1900s. Stages were usually built at shrines, which functioned as centers of social interaction and celebration as much as places of worship, and villagers would gather to watch performing arts such as folk kabuki (noson kabuki). The performances were primarily staged by the villagers themselves, though shows by traveling performers were also common. Village stages were particularly numerous in the area that is now Aichi, Gifu, and southern Nagano Prefectures, and there are still 84 such structures in the city of Toyota alone.

    The stage at Rokusho Shrine is one of the largest and best preserved of its kind. There is a platform underneath the ceiling that was part of a mechanism for lowering and raising actors onto and off of the stage. Structural elements such as the massive tie beam at the front of the building, about 80 centimeters thick and more than 11 meters in length, indicate that the stage was built at great effort and expense. This speaks to the once immense popularity of folk performing arts in the region. However, that popularity faded when cinema began to overtake theater and vaudeville as the people’s favored form of entertainment. The stage at Rokusho Shrine has stood silent since 1948, when it was last used for its intended purpose.

    Basic Information

    Address 〒444-2201
    Jizo-do 23, Sakaue-cho, Toyota City
    Cost Free admission
    Business hours Open all day
    Phone number 0565-77-8089 (Matsudaira Tourism Association)
    Closed None
    Directions by car 30 min. from the Tokai-Kanjo Expressway Toyota-Matsudaira Interchange

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