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Oyama Shrine (尾山神社 Oyama-jinja) is located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, just west of Kanazawa Castle Park. It commemorates Maeda Toshiie (前田 利家, 1538-1599), the first daimyō of Kaga Domain and was constructed in 1599 by his son and successor, Maeda Toshinaga, at Utatsuyama (卯辰山). For that reason, it was formerly known as Utatsu Hachimangu Shrine. In 1873, it was moved to its current location, the site of a former Maeda family residence, and renamed Oyama Shrine. The surrounding Japanese garden was designed by Kobori Enshū (小堀遠州, 1579-1647), a famous aristocrat and horticulturist, and is now part of the shrine compound.

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In 1875, the Dutch architect H. Holtmann designed Shinmon, the new main gate of Oyama Shrine that was quite controversial at the time of its construction. The gate incorporates Asian and Western design elements in a style called wakanyo (和漢洋) that combines Japanese, Chinese and Western style characteristics. The gate, including the lightning rod, stands 25 metres tall.

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The uppermost section of the gate has stained glass windows and resembles a lighthouse. Despite the initial controversy, Shinmon was designated an Important Cultural Asset in 1950.

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Oyama-jinja enshrines Maeda Toshiie and his wife Omatsu no Kata (お松の方, 1547–1617) who was famed for her brilliance and her skills in literature and martial arts. She bore Toshiie six children: two sons, Toshinaga and Toshimasa, and four daughters. As their marriage was seen as exemplary, the shrine is visited by those who pray for a happy marriage.

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The Kaga-Maeda family crest, an ume blossom, is ubiquitous.

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A stone bridge in the Japanese garden dating back to the times when the shrine perimeter was a Maeda residence. The pond is shaped like a biwa (a Japanese lute) and has three islands connected by stepping stones and a wooden bridge.

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A statue commemorating Maeda Toshiie, the first daimyō of Kaga Domain.

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A commemorative slab depicting Matsu, Toshiie's wife. She was the "woman behind his success" and was known under her Buddhist name Hoshun-in after her husband's death. She spent her last years in Edo as a voluntary hostage to Tokugawa Ieyasu to ensure the safety of the Maeda clan.

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A side entrance to Oyama Shrine.

Link:

Address: Kanazawa-shi, Oyama-cho 11-1; phone: 076-231-7210; fax: 076-231-4685

Admission: free

Access: Kanazawa Loop Bus (station 7) from Kanazawa Station East Exit, get off at Minamicho bus stop.


Map: