Since ancient times, Lake Biwa near Kyoto has been called "Omi" (the near
lake), while Lake Hamana far from Kyoto was distinguished as "Totomi" (the far lake), which then
became the name of Totomi Province.
The Tenryu River flowed throw the Enshu Plain, and Kokufu (formerly a provincial capital) was
located at the tip of Iwatahara.
Mount Komyo directly north of Kokufu was established as a mountain shrine, with the venerated
shrines of Mount Haruno and Mount Akiha on its east and west.
And in Mori-machi, the primary town on the Ota River, Ichinomiya Shrine (first shrine) was built
and Ninomiya Shrine (second shrine) was built in Kokufu, along with Sannomiya Shrine (third
shrine) in Fukuroi, at the base of Haranoya River.
In particular, the Ota River basin had been subdivided into districts similarly to Kyoto since
ancient times, making for a rich living space blessed by nature.
Many historical Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are located in Mori, and Totomi Ichinomiya
(Okuni Shrine) is first among them.
With the central shrine of Ichinomiya at the peak, residences for the imperial court messenger,
as well as Renge-ji Temple and Amenomiya Shrine were built around the base, and the Ota River
was made to resemble the Kamo River in Kyoto, with Kamo Shrine and Yamana Shrine along its
The town of Mori (Mori Ichiba) long prospered as a place to buy and sell food harvested from the
mountains, the fields, and the sea, and performing arts from Kyoto were introduced as well, so
the culture of Japan's historical capital has taken root here.
Twelve-stage bugaku (traditional music and dance) carried on by Okuni Shrine and Amenomiya
Shrine came along with Buddhism from China to Totomi Province via Kyoto, and this thousand year
old tradition is practiced even today.
Yamana Shrine Tenno Festival Bugaku is a precious performing art that brings the dances of the
Kyoto Gion Festival to Mori-machi, and there are many other traditional performing arts
such as the Mori Festival. Indeed, Mori-machi preserves many elements that together make it the
"Little Kyoto of Enshu", and it has inherited many relics of history and culture in its
Kyoto-like landscape, and traditions which are passed down from one generation to the next even