1. Shrines
Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Seeking a Peaceful World Even After Death

Nikko Toshogu Shrine enshrines the spirit of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who laid the foundation for a peaceful era that lasted for 260 years. After settling the turbulent era, Ieyasu's ambition was to secure lasting prosperity and national peace. He faced many adversities in his life: fourteen-year hostage and Ikko-riot of the Jodo Shinsu sect of Buddhism […]

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1. Shrines
The Oki Islands, The Exile of Emperor Go-Toba by Samurai: A Political Drama in Medieval Japan

A 50-minute flight from Itami Airport in Osaka, the Oki isolated Islands in Shimane Prefecture, a UNESCO World Geopark, are blessed with abundant nature. Since ancient times, the islands have been called the "Islands of the Deities." Japan's oldest books, Kojiki and Nihonshoki, describe the creation of the Oki Islands by two deities, Izanagi and […]

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1. Shrines
Yoshino Jingu Shrine and Yoshimizu Shrine, clever and trenchant wit or desperate, but fortitudinous Emperor Go-Daigo’s way of living

In spring, Mt. Yoshino is adorned with approximately 30,000 cherry blossoms in full bloom, comprising about 200 different varieties of Yamazakura, mountain cherry blossoms, gradually reach full bloom in four areas - Shimo, Naka, Kami, and Oku – ascending from the base to the summit, taking about a month to unfold fully. The panoramic view […]

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1. Shrines
Suwa Taisha Shrine: Jomon People's Sprits still Remains

The Onbashira Matsuri Festival is a unique and sacred ritual ceremony held once every seven years at Suwa Taisha Shrine with a long and rich history of at least 1200 years and more. The festival is centered around the transportation of massive sixteen-fir sacred wooden pillars with all branches removed (Onbashira). These 10-ton pillars are […]

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1. Shrines
Izumo Taisha Shrine: Mystical Secrets of Izumo's Spiritual Power

Izumo holds a special place in Japanese history starting mythological ancient times. Several reasons: The largest Shimenawa, sacred straw ropes, in Japan, the largest Main Shrine in ancient times, the Kamiarisai Festival in October of the lunar calendar, where deities from across Japan gather in Izumo, the largest Bronze bell-shaped vessels and Bronze Swords in […]

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1. Shrines
Izumo Taisha Shrine: The Heart of the Japanese People at Kamiari-sai Festival

The Kamiari-sai is an annual festival held at Izumo Taisha Shrine, taking place in October according to the lunar calendar. In the year 2023, it’s scheduled from November 22nd to the 29th. The festival is staged to welcome the deities from the nation, and it commences at Inasa-Hama shore, which is situated approximately a 20-minute […]

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1. Shrines
Meiji Jingu Shrine: An Amazing Green Forest to Commemorate the Virtues of Emperor Meiji

Meiji Jingu Shrine is located in the center of Tokyo to enshrine the spirit of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. It has a variety of wild animals, bugs, butterflies, fungi, 234 kinds of trees, 352 kinds of plants, and more than 100 kinds of birds in the forest which is blessed with a breath of […]

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1. Shrines
The God of War, Kenshin, and the Muromachi Shogunate Revival

Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578, 上杉謙信) was a fervent believer in the god of war, Bishamonten (毘沙門天), using one of the letters of '毘' as an emblem on his own flag, and fighting under the banner of 'Bi'. During his lifetime, he lost only twice out of 71 battles, making him a true military god. During the […]

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1. Shrines
Unveiling the Secrets of Matsunoo Taisha, the Best Sake Brewery Shrine

Matsunoo Taisha Shrine stands as one of Japan’s revered three sake shrines, alongside Omiwa Jinja, and Umemiya Jinja, all venerating the sake deity worshipped by sake brewers. Upon crossing the Romon Gate, you gaze at the Shinyoko on the left, a warehouse for portable shrines. Here, a mesmerizing array of a variety of Komodaru straw […]

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1. Shrines
Why did so many emperors, court nobles, and Samurai visit the Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine?

In the year 860, the Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine was established by an oracle who voiced a fervent wish to stand in proximity to the Imperial palace, safeguarding the nation. Thus, the venerated Hachiman deity was enshrined as a national guardian deity in Kyoto along the head shrine of Hachiman Okami, Usa Jingu Shrine in Kyushu. […]

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