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Jūhachi myōjinsha (十八明神社, Shrine of the Eighteen Guardian Deities) Keller, Matthew P.


This small shrine is for the kami which are said to protect the mountain's grounds and the temples therein. The alternate name for this shrine - The Palace of Rats - comes from a story of the Taiheiki 太平記. According to that work, when Miidera was granted royal permission to build a precepts platform, Enryakuji at Hieizan strongly objected and the permission was withdrawn. The monk Raigō in wrath closeted himself for twenty-one days and performed a homa ritual. When the fire from his ritual extinguished, his fierce will was turned into a multitude of rats which attacked Enryakuji's grounds and devoured its sacred scriptures. The present building was rebuilt in 1836 (Tenpō 7, 天保七年), and is built so that it faces towards Enryakuji.

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