Goo Schrein - Goo Shrine

Goo Shrine, Kyoto 2017

The Goo Shrine, on the western side of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, celebrates Lord Wake no Kiyomaro, who, in the year 769, blocked a Buddhist priest unwelcome by the populace, from taking the imperial throne. The priest, Yuke no Dokyo, banished Lord Kiyomaro and wound his leg along the way. Fleeing to present-day Oita Prefecture, Lord Kiyomaro was protected from his pursuers by 300 wild boars and his wounds were miraculously healed.

To this day, the Goo Shrine is dedicated to all pigs, and is visited by people suffering from leg and foot injuries similar to those of Lord Kiyomaro. A stone block bearing footprints is said to heal the injuries.

Instead of the usual Komainu, mythical lion-like beasts, that shelter outside most Japanese shrines, the Goo is guarded by a pair of wild boars. After the Meiji Restoration was introduced in 1886 as a symbol of the new state beliefs and loyalty to the emperor became a dominant theme of official propaganda, the shrine displays hundreds of boar images.


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