Year of the Boar Triggers Sharp Visitor Increase Goou Shrine Associated with Boars
Goou Shrine, at Shimo Chojamachi Sagaru, Karasuma-dori, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, which has a strong association with boars, has been inundated with visitors since the New Year. This is assumed to be due to entering the Year of the Boar in the Chinese astrological calendar. At peak hours, there was a long line stretching even outside the shrine grounds and there were also visitors who had to wait three hours to visit this shrine. A shrine official delightedly said, "Unexpectedly, there are even more visitors than in the last Year of the Boar."
There is a pair of stone carved "guardian boars" located in the shrine precincts. This is due to the historical event where 300 boars protected an enshrined deity of this shrine, Wake no Kiyomaro, on the way from the ancient capital to Usa Hachimangu Shrine in the current Oita Prefecture in the Kyushu Region. Also, there is a word of mouth tradition that Kiyomaro recovered from the pain in his legs at that time. So, it is said to be beneficial to pray at this shrine for health concerning legs and back.
As so many visitors flocked into the precincts on the first day of the year, entrance had to be restricted from January 2 to 6. A huge votive tablet of a boar is on display until the end of January. Takahiro Hongo, senior priest, said, "This is the first time we set an entrance restriction. Thanks to the growth of social networking services (SNS) which can widely share photos from the shrine, I think a lot of people have come to know the shrine's origin."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)