The Tsunashikiten Shrine Otabisha enshrined here in Chayamachi is related to a historical event that occurred on February 2nd (by Japan’s old calendar) in the year 901. When Sugawara no Michizane (a deified spirit) was being relegated to the Dazaifu regional government in Kyushu due to a false accusation, he caught sight of the red plum blossoms that were in full bloom on this site. He then laid (= “shiki”) the mooring line (= “tsuna”) of the boat he was on in a circular pattern and mounted it to take a long look. Later on, the “Umezuka Tenmangu” (shrine dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane’s spirit) was constructed under the red plum tree and this was the predecessor of this Otabisha.
In the middle of the Heian Period, it was merged with the “Kaminu Daijingu” (currently the main shrine) that worships the Emperor Saga and became one shrine, so the Kaminu Daijingu became the main shrine and the Umezuka Tenmangu became the “Otabisha,” the second home for the deity. It came to be known as the “Tsunashikiten Shrine” from the time when the rope was laid down. At the beginning, it was in what is now Taiyuji-cho, but it was relocated to Umegae-cho and then here in Chayamachi in the early Meiji Period. It is worshipped as the guardian god of Umeda.
The locations that are like second homes for deities are generally called “otabisho” and they are mostly prepared as temporary constructions. The “Otabisho” at the Tsunashikiten Shrine is not a temporary construction. It has a main shrine building and grounds and was established as a genuine shrine. Also, the enshrined deity is always enshrined there. This is why it has been called an “Otabisha.”
The red plum tree that caught the eye of Sugawara no Michizane was later named “Umezuka” and became the focus of worship as a sacred site for the deified spirit of Sugawara no Michizane. There is a theory that the area was originally called “Umeda” (written with the character for burying) because it had been reclaimed by landfill, but that this was later changed to “Umeda” (written with the character for plum) after this red plum tree.
Successive generations of the Shirae family have continued to work as priests at the Tsunashikiten Shrine Otabisha.
As that Shirae family has continued to inherit and protect the shrine, what is it that has been passed down over time?
The correct answers are here
2-9, Chayamachi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture