Monday, October 15, 2012

Pork In the Road discovers Go'o Shrine, dedicated to the Pig - Our Kyoto Week end Part 6

Who would have thought that I would find, in genteel, traditional, old world Kyoto -- an actual Shinto Shrine dedicated to the Pig?  A celebration of the virtues and qualities -- and I don't mean the edible ones -- of that often maligned, often ridiculed creature.  Porkintheroad was just so proud!

Go'o Shrine is located right across the Imperial Palace Park.  It's one of many shrines in Kyoto and probably not on your top ten or even top twenty list but it's got a very interesting back story.
This is where Lord Wake no Kiyomaro, an adviser to the emperor in the 8th century, is enshrined.
Legend has it that when Lord Kiyomaro fell out of favor from the emperor's conniving family, he was sent out to exile from the palace.
On his way, he hurt his leg but was "escorted and protected" by a herd of wild boars who saw him safe on his way.

The shrine is thus also popular with those who have hurt their leg.  This marble "wheel" at the entrance, inscribed with "footsteps" is spun by visitors to protect them from leg injuries.

Instead of the usual lions guarding the shrine entrance, we see a pair of stone boars.  This is just the first of many pig statues that can be found in Go'o Shrine.

Pig iconography comes in the form of painted figures ....

And those made of stone ....

There are pigs leaping through the air...

And jumping down at the purification fountain.

And here is a most unusual specimen -- I named him "Twiggy the Pig" .  He could also pass for a large hedgehog.

Here is another purification fountain with yet another pig -- in cast iron and kneeling before you as you wash your hands.

Lord Kiyomaro's footsteps?  He certainly had big feet!

Go'o Shrine boasts of hundreds of pig figures -- many of them are displayed in this small museum.
It's attached to a  gift shop where you can buy all sorts of pig souvenirs (naturally, I bought a small horde).

This is Lord Kiyomaro.  His remains are said to be enshrined in the grounds. Still watched over and guarded by his legion of protective pigs.

And here is the scroll that tells of Lord Kiyomaro's passage to safety, borne by the herd of wild pigs.
Go'o Shrine was just a short stroll away from Hotel Brighton.
If we didn't stay so close to it, I would never have come upon this unusual and loyal homage to the pig.
Porkintheroad is grateful to Lord Kiyomaro who undoubtedly sent out his herd and led me to this place.

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