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Asagaya Shinmeigu

Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine is said to have been established in 114 CE and is a spiritual branch of Ise Grand Shrine which is in Mie prefecture.  It is devoted to the sun goddess Amaterasu.  You can learn more about it here.

Only a two-minute walk north from Asagaya Station, lies Asagaya Shinmeigu, a Shinto shrine.  The station wouldn’t be the busiest in Tokyo, but it can get quite crowded at times so it is hard to believe that this serene shrine is so close to it.  Shinmeigu has 1700 years of history, and is known for warding off evil.

The three shrines of Asagaya Shinmeigu

A visit there won’t take so long, so if you are looking for a place with lots of photo opportunities then you might be advised to look elsewhere.  However, as it is surrounded by trees it is very peaceful, rather like Meiji shrine in Harajuku.  But whereas Meiji is very large, Asagaya Shinmeigu is very small.  So, if you are looking for a place that has lots of photo opportunities, this probably isn’t the best of places for you.

The main entrance to the shrine

I really like it though.  In the inner sanctuary, there are the three main shrines.  The main one, in the center is dedicated to Amaterasu Omikami, the others are for her brothers, Tsukuyomi no Mikoto (on the right) and and the one on the left Susanoo.  It is really quite an unusual setup I think.  In most places you can get quite close to the shrines, but not here as there is a fence (tamagaki).

As with other temples and shrines you can buy ema (wooden plaques on which you write your dreams or wishes and then hang them special “trees”), but   Asagaya Shinmeigu’s are a little different - crescent moons!  Perfect for making wishes!

The other nice thing about the shrine is that when the cherry blossoms are in bloom a special event to appreciate the blossoms is held. Dances and songs dedicated to the goddess are performed by the shrine maidens (miko) and a party is also held under the trees. I’ve never attended but apparently it is open to everybody with free sake and food being served. The date of the party is decided depending on when the cherry blossoms bloom, so it may vary year to year.  And as with many shrines there is a chance to see a Shinto wedding during your visit.

If you are ever in Asagaya and in need of some spiritual refreshing, Shinmeigu is for you.  And if you enjoy shrine events it is also a good place to visit.  Please come back at a later date, as this article will be updated with pictures from shrine events at a later date.  You can see the website for the shrine here.

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How to get to Asagaya Shinmeigu

The shrine is on the north side of Asagaya station, just a five-minute walk away.  Here is a map with the location:

 

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