Hie Shrine was designated as a First Class Government Shrine before the Second World War, and was a highly respected place of worship for the people of Tokyo.
The deity enshrined is Oyamakui-no-kami, the god of Mount Hie in Shiga prefecture. This deity is more commonly known as Hie-no-kami. Hie Shrine derives its name from this deity.
Since the Heian Period, many branch shrines of the Hie Shrine in Shiga prefecture were built throughout Japan.
The history of this Hie Shrine goes back to the beginning of the Kamakura Period when a man named Edo built a Hie Shrine for the guardian deity of his residence on grounds of the present Imperial Palace.
In 1478, Ota Dokan constructed Edo Castle on the site of the present Imperial Palace. He also erected a Sanno-Hie Shrine in the compound for a guardian deity of the castle.
The Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu began ruling Japan from Edo Castle. He also became a patron of the Hie Shrine and worshipped the deity as the protector of Edo, the old name for Tokyo. The citizens of Edo also had the strongest faith in Hie Shrine, which enshrined the guardian deity of the Shogun.
In 1607, the shrine was moved outside of Edo Castle to Hayabusa-cho, near the present Kokuritsu Gekijo National Theatre. This allowed the citizens of Edo to visit and worship at the shrine. In 1657, Hie Shrine and much of Edo was destroyed by fire. However, in 1659, Shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna rebuilt the shrine at its present location.
The shrine buildings were constructed in the Gongen-Zukuri style with vermilion-lacquered finishings. The Gongen Zukuri style consists of a complex roof system in which the Haiden hall of worship and Honden inner sanctuary are connected. The Heiden offering hall, Haiden hall of worship, Honden inner sanctuary and Roumon gate were so magnificent that they were authorized as National Treasures.
Regrettably, the shrine buildings were burnt down in the bombing of Tokyo during the World War II in 1945. The present shrine buildings were constructed in 1958 with contributions from numerous parishioners and worshippers.