Shrine Gate and grounds—Let's Go Pray

A wide shot of Iga Hachimangu, that is Iga Hachiman Shrine, here, one of the more famous shinto shrines in Okazaki. Hachiman is the god of war and it’s said that Ieyasu1 and his men would come here to pray before battles. There is a cool story involving this shrine and ninja. True or not… well, who knows, but it is claimed to be true by the shrine. It goes like this:

On one occasion, Ieyasu’s men refused to leave the shrine until Hachiman promised them victory. Ever the sly one, Ieyasu hired a local ninja group to move the entrance torii gate at night while his troops were asleep. When his men woke up, they saw the torii had been moved and took this as a sign that Hachiman had granted their wish. In this way, Ieyasu avoided angering his troops by ordering them to leave before they were ready and he managed to inspire them at the same time by making them think god was with them. Clever guy!

The shrine gate may be obvious, so let’s look on the left. The hanging white pieces of paper are fortunes (omikuji). Often people who get lousy fortunes will tie them to these lines, supposedly binding the bad luck along with the paper and leaving it behind. The structure right beside is the cleansing station (temizuya), where you clean yourself before praying.

Probably things I missed. Feel free to add anything in the comments.


Show Me Japan

This is my entry in this week’s Show Me Japan, the weekly event that collects photos from all over Japan. Go see what other pretty photos of Japan are there this week.


  1. Future shogun and all around smart guy whose favorite hobby was waiting. See here. Oh, pronounce his name something like this: E-​​EH-​​YAH-​​SUE 

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