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Shizuoka Guide Travel to Japan

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11/01/2011 [Tue]

Around Mitsuke Inn Town along the Old Tokaido road ― Iwata City [Iwata]

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After the “Museum of Fragrance, Iwata”, I took JR Line from Toyoda to Iwata Station. Remember the blue statue ? Yes, “Jubilo-kun”^^ He welcomes any visitors any time, maybe. Hi. Sorry for my Pul-chan cell-phone strap.

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Now, I took a #1 bus to “Mitsuke”, one of the old Inn towns, to walk along the old Tokaido road. “Yanahime Shrine” ( or Mitsuke Tenjin Shrine ) has been meant to come first today but due to the catastrophic typhoon, some of huge sacred trees around the shrine had been uprooted and we were forced out of it that day. Too bad…… I had no choice but to walk away from it and stroll along the Tokaido. Though the Old Tokaido itself looks rather contemporary, it still retains some historical evidences in various spots. You may miss some of them without careful looking.

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Now, I reached the Old Mitsuke School, one of the symbols of Iwata City. This very historic architecture is said to be the oldest existing wooden western-style school ( established in 1875 ) in Japan and has been also registered as a National Historical Site. Now, let’s get in there ! Then……, I had trouble again…… That is, the building had been seriously damaged by the typhoon and needed to be closed for a while to get repaired. You can go inside now to see the educational materials and scenes of classes of that time free of charge !

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All right, I knew there was a unique shrine, “Omikunitama Shrine”, beside the school. But there……, the vestiges of typhoon, again. A huge tree had been uprooted and fallen on the Honden ( God’s house ) roof. What a scene ! Honestly, these ravages were quite a blow to me.

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PDFファイル(127KB)

Around Mitsuke (127KB)

Now, this shrine is to worship “Okuninushi-no Mikoto”, the same god as one enshrined in Izumo Taisha Shrine. He is, according to Japanese myth such as “Kojiki” and “Nihon-syoki”, legendarily believed to have had about 180 children ( or Gods, each enshrined in various shrines in Japan ) and these rabbits are to represent the famous old story, “Inaba-no Shiro Usagi”. “Rabbit” also has it that it would bless someone with plenty of babies. Pray for the babies ?^^ It may also bless you with someone very special in your life ! Get your Honey or Darling to come♪
After leaving Omikunitama Shrine, I walked down to “Old Akamatsu Memorial House”. I’ll report it next time !

Have a good day !^^

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Yanahime Shrine ( Mitsuke Tenjin Shrine )
Access from JR Iwata : 10 minutes by bus and 5 minutes walk
Admission : Free
The Old Mitsuke School
Access : 10 minute walk from Yanahime Shrine
Admission : Free
Open Hours : 9:00 – 16:30 ( closed on Mondays )
Omikunitama Shrine
Access : 1 minute walk from The Old Mitsuke School
Admission : Free

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“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ^^



Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 10:20 Permanent Link Trackback ( 0 ) Comments ( 0 )

04/18/2011 [Mon]

The historical ceremony in Kunozan Toshogu Shrine [Shizuoka]

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Recently, Japan has become settled in a sense. Now, we can tell the whole picture of the earthquake and tsunami and know what to do and care for, or how to live under these conditions. Though radioactive matter is still a big problem, some annual events are being held discreetly to keep our cultures and histories.
On April 17, 1616, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Edo Shogunate, passed away in Sumpu Castle. His body was buried in Mt. Kuno and enshrined as Tosho Daigongen by his will saying “My body is to be buried in Mt, Kuno, the funeral in Edo, and after one year, transfer my body to Nikko to become a guardian of Kanto Area”.

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Now, “Tosho” is the god-name of Tokugawa Ieyasu, as called Kunozan Tosho-gu, or Nikko Tosho-gu, which literally means “Lighting in the east”, indicating the east part of Japan, that is, Kanto area including Edo is under his blessing. Or, if his word construed as “Lighting to the east”, because Edo is to the east of Suruga ( Shizuoka ), his soul might be in Shizuoka to see warmly the way his son or grandson administers this country.

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By the way, on the anniversary of his death, a formal ceremony “Reisai” is to be held in Kunozan Toshogu Shrine every year. “Reisai” is regarded as the most important event for shrines. And you know what ? Yesterday was the day for it ! I visited Kunozan Toshogu Shrine of the National Treasure and saw the whole ceremony. I don’t explain about Kunozan Toshogu Shrine much this time because I’ve ever written about it twice. Please refer to the report on Jan 21, 2011 and one on Apr 23, 2010.

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I didn’t take Nihondaira Ropeway this time to walk up the 1159 stairs to the shrine. It was a little bit physically hard for me but spiritually refreshing for its panoramic view.
At around 10:30, all attendees assembled around the main hall. The ceremony started solemnly with the sound of Shinto flute and a shout of Shinto priest, which continued for 15 minutes or so, followed by “Shunki-no Mai” dance by a priestess in gorgeous costume, praying for the world peace. After the Mai dance, Shinto ritual began. There came the 18th descendant of Tokugawa Ieyasu in a historical costume. 300 spectators around. He had the very image of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Modest and decent. I can’t actually explain what is to what but all his demeanors somehow made me feel the air of Ieyasu.

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After the Shinto rituals of 1.5 hours, at around 12:00, we all walked up to the place of his original grave-site to pray for him to rest in peace. And there, all attendees took some commemorative pictures with Mr, Tokugawa and all ceremony of 2 hours came to an end. It was very fun to me to feel our culture in a historical spot like Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. Such kind of annual ceremonies are held in many shrines. Anyone can join it. If you’ve got interested, please inquire us.

Have a good day !

“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ^^



Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 18:18 Permanent Link Trackback ( 0 ) Comments ( 0 )

02/07/2011 [Mon]

Atami, the largest Onsen hot-spring resort in Shizuoka – The way to Kiunkaku [Atami]

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After having a supernatural power at “Kinomiya Shrine”, I walked for "Kiunkaku" following the map ( ←open it for sure ! ). On my way, I found a small shrine named “Yuzen Shrine”, worshipped through the ages as the god of hot-spring in Atami. It was very interesting to me that people purify their hands or mouth after the gate with hot spring !

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Now, attention please on the name “Yuzen”. It literally means “In front of hot water”. So, which water ? Remember I introduced a geyser at “Ieyasu no Yu” in the first place ?  Across the alley, there is another geyser “Ohyu Geyser” ( G on the map ) that has been supposedly regarded as one of the original sources of Atami Onsen hot springs.

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The phone booth beside it is the replicated first phone booth in Japan in commemoration as the first city of out-of-city call. Yes, that is definitely true ! The out-of-city call started first in Atami ! So why ? Because major politicians used to come to Atami onsen resort for rest, they needed the circumstance to be able to reach someone in Tokyo any time. So, one single line was exclusively operated for outside the city call only here in Atami ! Atami is such a resort !

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Strolling further, I passed Itokawa River (or Ito River ) where is very popular this season for “Atami Cherry Blossoms”. According to the website of Atami City Tourism Association, about 80 % of the cherry blossoms have been in bloom now. ^^ It’s being illuminated in the night until Feb 13 !

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I walked on along the street, passing by “Atami Geigi Kenban” ( E on the map ) where you can see dance performances by Geisha. You can enjoy it Hana no Mai at 11:00 on Saturdays and Sundays for ¥1300. And please be informed that Atami Wodori the annual Geisha’s largest event will be held on Apr 28 & 29 as in the past. For further information, please see my previous record or this official page.^^

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I guess I had walked for more than 20 minutes when I came across a seemingly boundless wall. This is it, “Kiunkaku” ( D on the map ).
This was originally a second mansion of an influential politician, once temporarily used as a gorgeous Japanese Inn, and is now a tangible cultural property of Atami City. You can tour around it for ¥500. I stepped in it and astonished by the extravagantly luxurious architecture and its wonderful garden.

You will see next time.^^

By for now !


“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ^^



Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 13:28 Permanent Link Trackback ( 0 ) Comments ( 0 )

02/02/2011 [Wed]

Atami, the largest Onsen hot-spring resort in Shizuoka– Kinomiya Shrine [Atami]

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So, I left Atami Baien a few minutes past 12:00 and walked downhill for a while. On my way, I could see the Hatsushima Island very clearly. I passed by JR Kinomiya Station and kept strolling along the overhead railway, turned left at the second traffic signal, passed through the tunnel, and it was there, “Kinomiya Shrine”, in about 15 minutes from Atami Baien.

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Kinomiya Shrine is the very guardian deity of Atami City and also known as one of the best “Power Spots” in Japan. The Power Spot indicates the special site where you can have supernatural energy, like, to halt the disease, or to change fortune for the better. Mt. Fuji is also regarded as one of them.

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Now, the large Shinto shrine Gate with two huge flags definitely promised me something. I stepped into it. A humongous stone and a dignified tree showed up before me first. This shrine has supposedly about 1300 year history. I bowed to the stone, pressed my hands together ( this is how we pray to the gods ) against the tree and walked on the approach, expecting super duper energy.^^


I reached Honden main hall up the stairs in a few minutes. There, I saw dozens of people making wishes in front of Honden. I did as well, about which you’ll never know.^^

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Kinomiya Shrine Honden main hall

By the way, in this shrine, there are two more shrines worshipped by the people.

One is called “Kinomiya Inari Shrine”, the god of agriculture and business, which can be traced back to The Fuhimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. You can find it just after the entrance gate.

The other is “Kinomiya Benzaiten Shrine”, the god of advancement and career success. It is on the right side of Honden main hall. They say that, in Edo Era, Okubo somebody came down this Benzaiten Shrine all the way from Edo ( Tokyo ), of course on foot, to worship this god and made it to one of the highest position in Tokugawa system.

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Now, I’m on my way to the “Power Spot” ! Walking through the left of Honden, you may have an eccentric feeling and the next moment, you will get overwhelmed or stunned by the sight of humongous sacred tree ! More than 2000 years old ! ! The very spirit of all the nature in Japan, I thought. I walked around it, gazing on it as if I had found something supernatural in it.

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By the way, there is a narrow trail around the tree. You know why ? Because they believe as follows :
★If you go around the tree, you will live one year longer.
★If you go around wishing something in your mind, it will come true.
I learned the fact just after I’d came back, though I had lots of wishes.^^; Anyway, I would live 1 year longer. Good enough !^^

Next time, I’ll introduce “Kiunkaku”.

Bye for now !^^


“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ^^



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Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 14:03 Permanent Link Trackback ( 0 ) Comments ( 0 )

01/21/2011 [Fri]

What is cool and hot in this season – Kunozan Toshogu Shrine [Shizuoka]

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“Kunozan Toshogu Shrine designated as a National Treasure”.
This article created a sensational headline among people in Japan and of foreign countries last year. From today, I’ll introduce some sightseeing spots absolutely hot and cool this season in Shizuoka City. It is around Mt. Kuno !

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From Shizuoka Station, you have 2 choices to get to Mt. Kuno. One is to take the bus for Nihondaira and ride on the gondola, Nihondaira Ropeway, to it. The other is one for Kuno-yamashita, where is at the very foot of Mt. Kuno. I took the latter. On the way, you can see the beautiful Kuno Coast and Suruga Bay, where you can overlook as far as Izu Peninsula on a fine day. As for Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, because I’ve introduced it in my second diary of this blog website, I dare not explain details like historical matters.^^;

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Now, you get off the bus and will find a shrine gate as in the picture above within one minute walk from the bus stop. This is the beginning gate of Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. Are you ready mentally and physically to walk up ?

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1159 steps up to the shrine is by no means accessible. Can you see the flag and posted notice on the gate, by the way ? These all says “Conglatulations ! Kunozan Toshogu Shrine finally designated as a National Treasure” ! See ? ^^
Soon after I began to walk up, I found a very old temple and a good plum garden. The air was cool but refreshing. It took me about 30 minutes to reach the toshogu shrine. On my way, I saw beautiful Suruga Bay including Izu Peninsula ! Walking through the wooden gate, it is just around the corner ! ^^

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Although it was only a common weekday, I saw many tourists in the shrine. It is always good to be in the sacred air. At the entrance gate, you can ask for a copy of English description about Kunozan Toshogu and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of Edo Era. I walked up the stairs to the Honden main hall. The gorgeous look of the shrine tells us how much he was awed.

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Originally, in Mt. Kuno used to be a huge temple until it burnt out by a tremendous fire. Afterwards, Takeda Shingen, a feudal warlord took up this mountain as a castle, Kuno Castle until Takeda clan was destroyed by Tokugawa family. And when Tokugawa Ieyasu passed away, the castle was completely demolished, to build a tomb for him. One year later, his body was carried to Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Indeed, Mt. Kuno has a lot of histories !

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Now, get a bit hungry ?
I’m on my way to Strawberry Picking down Mt. Kuno.
Next time, I’ll introduce Strawberry Picking in Kuno Area.

Bye for now !^^



“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ^^


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Posted by Satoshi Nihonyanagi at 11:32 Permanent Link Trackback ( 0 ) Comments ( 0 )

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