Near my apartment is a small shrine. This picture is of the torii, or gate. This shrine holds a small festival in the summer and has regular taiko drum practice in one of the buildings throughout summer. It’s nice to hear it in the evening from our apartment.
Small torii for a small shrine.
Our final destination on January 3rd was Sasuke Inari Jinja (佐助稲荷神社). Inari shrines are famous for the numerous red torii gates forming a kind of tunnel along the main path leading up to the shrine. They also have guardian fox statues in front of the shrine, just like other shrines have guardian dog statues. This shrine is near Zeniarai Benten, but it’s much less popular. But when we were there, there were plenty of visitors. This was my second time at this shrine. Apparently, this shrine was the site of the hidden village of Kamakura, which was home to the predecessors of the ninja. It’s in a well protected area, being difficult to reach except for one direction. Enjoy the pictures!
This narrow path heads away from Zeniarai Benten.
We're coming up to the entrance of Sasuke Inari Shrine.
A bit closer now. Lots of red torii.
And the torii keep going for a long way.
Going up the hill, still more torii.
A small statue at the side of the path.
Yes, still going up!
The shrine is in sight!
Looking back down from the top of the stairs.
One of the guardian fox statues typical of Inari shrines.
Another path leads up to the left. We didn't go that way.
This is the main building of the shrine.
Yes, there are even more steps behind the shrine building!
This is another small shrine behind the main building.
The red maple leaves are still visible here.
And that’s it for the Oshogatsu pictures. I hope you enjoyed it!
Welcome back to the Picture of the Week! I’m going to try get a full 52 pictures done with my iPhone this year and post them weekly. These will be completely unedited, unfiltered photos. Some will also be available on Instagram in filtered form.
This week, we went to Kamakura and visited 3 shrines and a temple. This picture was taken on Wakamiya Oji, going toward Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.
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:
This past weekend, I went exploring around 3 neighbourhoods in Fujisawa. Near Fujisawa-honmachi station is a shrine, Kataijingu, with a long approach and 3 torii (gates). Closest to the shrine was a very large torii. This is it!
That's one big torii at Kataijingu!