Nagako Tomioka, 58, chief priestess of Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo, was attacked by Shigenaga Tomoika, 56, as she got out of a vehicle last night.
A man stabbed his older sister and girlfriend to death before committing suicide at a shrine in Koto Ward in Tokyo last night (07).
Also, a woman aged in her 30s who was with Shigenaga, attacked and stabbed the driver of the vehicle with a Japanese sword, police said.
Media reports said he was her younger brother.
A policeman stands guard in front of the main temple of the Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 8, 2017.
The four were sent to a hospital, where the three were confirmed dead.
After the attack, the pair then moved to an area near the residential compound on the shrine's leafy grounds. However, he was pursued over a distance of about 100 meters by Shigenaga's girlfriend, who was wielding the Japanese sword. He received injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.
"We believe the male suspect (Shigenaga) stabbed the woman before stabbing himself", the spokesman said, adding that they both died, bringing the total fatalities to three.
A bloodied Samurai sword was reportedly found at the scene.
According to an acquaintance of a family member, Shigenaga was the chief priest of the shrine until he was dismissed about 10 years ago.
At the time, his sister had held a post known as negi, the second-highest rank at a Shinto shrine after the chief priest.
Founded in 1627, Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine is located about 300 meters from Tokyo Metro's Monzen-Nakacho Station. The shrine left the association on September 28 this year.