Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shrine Hopping (Parts 2 & 3)

Part 2: Azusamiten Shrine (aka Cat Shrine)

So, I finally found the correct shrine last Sunday, May 10, 2015. Which is a bit nearer to the hotel than the other one.

As shown in their website, the shrine houses 2 major deities, and have at least a handful of subordinate shrines. Its main sanctuary is the oldest structure in Tachikawa City. It is a designated municipal tangible cultural property because of its high value.

Purification Pavilion

It was called a Cat Shrine because a lot of people used to come and pray for the health and safety of their pet cats. Also, people in silkworm business pray to the cat guardian so that their products will not be destroyed by mice. For all that reasons, I was expecting a lot of cat statues, but I saw only 2 statues:

But I did find the ema with cat pictures and they are as wonderful as in the internet. There were a lot of families coming to pray. There was a little prayer room near the information center, so the families can buy prayer materials and lucky charms and then go into the room and perform a little ceremony. Tourists are not allowed inside unless they are going to pray the traditional way.

Prayer hall and Information Center
There were also small shrines (sessha) aside from the main Honden. Visitors can come and pray at the main hall, then visit the smaller ones as well. At the far side, there is one quite outstanding building because of its pure wood color. It reflects the sunlight so the entire area looks like it's glowing in warm light.

Hall of the Sacred Dances

I finally had the courage to ask the information center for some map to other shrines. Good thing I did too, because I wouldn't have thought there were many so near Tachikawa station. The shrine lady (sorry, don't know what to call her) gave me a map and highlighted the other shrines I could visit.

I just hoped that I could visit all before closing time. :)

Part 3: Tachikawa Kumano Shrine

I have to be quite specific in giving the name because there are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of Kumano Shrines all over Japan. This particular one is not so far from my current location. I could actually walk from the office to the shrine!

I even got a little lost from the monorail station. I, once again, made a mistake in my GPS so I walked a little farther that I would like. But at least I saw a colorful building on my way to the shrine.

i think it's a school.. 
The actual shrine was a little different than what I imagined. According to my map guide, it was supposedly a place for a lot of festivities, but the place was too quiet. I guess it's only during holidays that the place is brighten up.


dog guardian 1
dog guardian 2
So, thats 2 more on my shrine hopping list. I'll post the last one on the next part. See you! :)

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