There is a folk song in Japan singing that “If you visit Ise, then why not Taga? Ise is a child of Taga.” And also there is an other saying of “Go at least three times to Kumano and at least seven to Ise but visit Taga once a month.” Proud to be the leading of more than 200 Taga shrines across Japan, Taga Taisha is considered as one among the most important and famous shrines in Shiga history. The existence of the shrine is first confirmed in the Engishiki which was written in the tenth century, however, as being mentioned in the oldest surviving book in Japan Kojiki written in the seventh century, Taga Taisha is believed to date in 620.
It happened here in 16th century that Hideyoshi Toyotomi prayed for the recovery of his wife then donating new establishments including a garden to the shrine in about 1588. The shrine was reconstructed after each time of devastation and the present structure was fulfilled in 2005. Taga Taisha dedicated two deities Izanagi no okami and Izanami no okami, known as the mother and father of all the gods then it has a close tie with the Imperial shrine in Ise as it enshrines the Sun Goddess, one among the children of Izanagi and Izanami. Nowadays, worshippers come to pray for a good marriage, a long and safe life, a protection from evils and illness.
Taga Taisha is located about 12 kilometers from Late Biwa, hiding in a wood of cherry blossom in spring and blazing red leaves in autumn. The Otagasan approach is dotted by souvenir shops, running along both sides from the station till the large torii gate. Behind the torii gate, you will meet an arched bridge crossing a small moat, small and old but pushing an extremely ancient beauty to the whole scene. Around the ground, you can see many stone lanterns with chrysanthemum decorations as Taga Taisha used to be an Imperial shrine because only Imperial or National shrines are allowed to show this kind of patterns. The whole area of Taga Taisha is about fifteen acres. You follow the Sando path directly to the stage of the Haiden which stands in peace created by tall cedar and other conifers. Thanks to the long history of Shinto-Buddhist syncretism, Taga Taisha still owns a temple on its precinct.
Source: Taga Taisha Shrine
Taga Taisha is well known for its Korei Taisai festival held on April 22nd with a procession of about 500 people dressed in period costume, representing the procession of a feudal lord. The Rice planting festival is organized on June 1st with music and dance by 55 farmers in traditional costume. However, Taga Taisha Lantern festival, also called Mantosai is the most magnificent festival of the shrine. Come to Taga Taisha on August 3rd to witness 10000 lanterns lit up on the shrine ground along with drum performances and a dragon dance.