The Ancient Shrine Continues to Watch Over Kyoto University
Yoshida shrine is located at the foot of Mt. Yoshida, which is part of the Higashiyama mountain range that borders the eastern edge of the city of Kyoto. Surrounded by a deep forest, the shrine stands quietly amid an undisturbed stillness. It was founded in 859, during the Heian period, by the powerful Fujiwara clan. In the latter half of the fifteenth century, Kanetomo Yoshida, as scholar and priest, established there a branch of the Shinto religion known as Yoshida Shinto. Yoshida shrine served as the center of this movement, becoming a focus of reverence for people both high and low from all over Japan. The shrine continues to be an important Shinto institution to this day. Kyoto University, which is located adjacent to Yoshida shrine, has long had a special association with it. Chief Priest Tsutomu Miyashita, w ho has held his present position since 1949, notes: " ;We have a connection with the university that goes back more than 100 years to the groundbreaking ceremony, which was performed by priests from our shrine." He also relates the following anecdote: "An elderly man more than 90 years old who graduated from Kyoto University many years ago once visited the shrine and told me, 'The university has changed completely since my day; it was only when I visited Yoshida shrine that I felt I had finally returned to my alma mater.''' Now and in the years to come Yoshida shrine will surely continue to be an ageless, unchanging presence watching over promising young people as they make their start in the world.