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Japan has a lot of shrines and temples as you know already. But sometimes, the famous one is kind of far from …

Japan has a lot of shrines and temples as you know already. But sometimes, the famous one is kind of far from center and little bit difficult to be there even. But some of them are in really central Tokyo and easy to get there. Hikawa shrine(氷川神社) in Akasaka Tokyo is one of them!

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Akasaka Hikawa shrine, a Shinto shrine located in Akasaka and is also close to Roppongi, is where the primary spiritual protector of Akasaka district is enshrined. It was founded in 951 according to one legend. Another says it was established in the late 7th century. All Hikawa shrines, including this shrine, are spiritual branches of Omiya Hikawa Jinja Shrine in Saitama City.

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Though this shrine too was bombard in WWII, its core building, constructed in the Edo period, managed to avoid being destroyed.

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Entering Hikawa shrine requires a purification ritual that begins with washing your hands, right then left, and rinsing your mouth (with your left hand). Next is the burning fire with smoke to waft over your head to burn off impurities and perhaps bring the blessings of Susanoo, the Shinto god of storms and seas. Now in your new state of purification, you can enter this Shinto shrine between wires covered with fluttering osame-fuda, the prayer paper strips pilgrims tie up at each shrine. White prayer papers are for novice pilgrims who aspire to progress to red papers and then to silver and gold as they become veteran pilgrims.

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Inside the shrine, take a moment to toss a coin into the offering box or perhaps make a prayer or a wish to the god of the shrine. Sometimes photography is forbidden and other shrines forbid shoes so pay attention to signage. If you have an injury, buy some incense, light it in the shrine and waft the smoke toward your injury to get Susanoo’s Attention.

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Almost every Shinto shrine in Japan has a temple stamp and resident monks to hand paint the stamp into your temple book for a few yen. Purchase a temple book at any shrine and collect intricate stamps at all your temple stops. A full temple book is a gorgeous souvenir from Japan. Interesting? Please check it out!

 

Station

Akasaka, Roppongiicchome