Exploring Japan: Samukawa Shrine – March 27, 2010

Samukawa Shrine is a major shrine in the town of Samukawa, Kanagawa.  It’s also a very old shrine, possibly originating more than 1500 years ago, though records state that it was rebuilt in the year 727.  I’m not certain about the age of the shrine’s current buildings, though.  The grounds are quite impressive.  It covers a large area with multiple buildings and gardens.  There are two major events at this shrine, one on September 20th, which is the shrine’s festival, featuring yabusame (horseback archery).  The other is on Setsubun (February 3), when there are illuminated paper images hung from the main gate.  When I visited the shrine last year, cherry blossoms were blooming, so it was a good opportunity for some photos.

To start off, I found the shrine’s entrance and found that there were ponds, a bridge and a long pathway leading to the shrine.  I decided to leave the outer grounds of the shrine until later, so I went directly toward the shrine.

Here, I found the outer buildings and wall that surrounds the shrine.  Here, you can buy good luck charms, omikuji (fortunes) or other souvenirs.  You also wash your hands and rinse out your mouth in this area before entering through the main gate.

And now to the shrine’s main gate and through to the main hall (honden).

The main hall is where the shrine’s service happens.  It’s the building dedicated to the shrine’s kami (or god).  When I was there, a service was underway.

I then decided to leave the main area of the shrine and go out to the gardens.  Since it was pretty busy at the shrine, I wasn’t surprised to see yatai (food stands) selling the usual foods, like takoyaki.  The gardens are more like a forest with a pond and several more small buildings.

To get to Samukawa Shrine, take the JR Sagami Line to Miyayama Station and walk for about 5 minutes to the southeast.  You can also check out this map:

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8 Comments

Filed under Japan, Kanagawa, Samukawa, Shrines

8 responses to “Exploring Japan: Samukawa Shrine – March 27, 2010

  1. Coming from a country that wasn’t even around in 727 it amazes me to see structures so old! I just can’t believe it is still around. It really takes my breath away. I can’t wait to be surrounded by stuff like this in a few days. ^^

  2. Fantastic pictures and looks like a great place to visit. I’ll have to put it on my hit list for my next trip to Japan.

    Japan Australia

  3. Reblogged this on Japan Rebloged and commented:
    Samukawa, Kanagawa. One of the biggest shrine in this area. Nice photos and explanations.

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