It’s a great honor to introduce you one of the most authoritative and prestigious shrines in Japan. This Shinto shrine is located in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture. It is the head shrine of the 1,300 sengen shrines all over Japan. The goddess, Konohana-no-sakuyahime,meaning a goddess of blooming blossoms is enshrined here. You can hear her interesting story in a mythology about why she was chosen as a guardian deity of Mt. Fuji. She has been worshiped as a goddess for fire prevention, safe delivery of a baby, ocean voyages, fishing and farming.
Tower Gate of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha , designated as one of the component parts of World Heritage Fujisan in 2013.
According to the shrine’s tradition, in the reign of the 51th Emperor Heizei, in 806, this grand shrine was built in the present site. Since ancient times, it has been highly honored by the Imperial Court and sponsored by powerful shoguns such as Miyamoto-no-Yoritomo and Tokugawa Ieyasu. During the Edo period(16C~19C), the shrine was the center for Mt. Fuji worship.
The Statue of Miyamoto-no-Yoritomo (1147-1199), the first Shogun of Kamakura Period
In the precincts, there are notable and colorful structures. Honden and haiden, the inner shrine and outer shrine are in the characteristic sengen-zukuri style. The features of this architecture are wide eaves and roofs thatched with bark of white cedar. Additionally, two shrine buildings are linked with the connected shrine. When you go out of the small east gate, you will see Wakutama-ike. It is a spring-fed pond. The rain and melting snow of Mt. Fuji are flowing into this pond. The temperature of the water is 13℃ all through the year. Pilgrims purified themselves in the pond before climbing Mt. Fuji and prayed for a safe climb.
Wakutama-Ike meaning " Gushing Jewels Pond" where you can see rainbow trouts swimming
One more place I recommend you to visit is Okumiya, the innermost shrine on the summit of Mt. Fuji. It is the final goal of the pilgrimage. The area of Okumiya covers everything above the 8th Station of Mt. Fuji. If you start your climb at Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine on the base and reach Okumiya and come back to the shrine safely, you will surely receive the blessing of the goddess!
This shrine holds several festivals every year. Main ones are as follows.
・Setsubun Festival, Feb.3rd or 4th, Beans are thrown away toward the crowd to ward off evil spirits and pray for good fortunes.
・Yabusame Festival March 4th,5th and 6th Ancient Horseback Archery is dedicated to the deity and local people parade on horses.
・The Annual Autumn Festival November 3rd, 4th and 5th Local people parade playing Japanese traditional musical instruments on floats to express gratitude for the year’s harvest.
Local people performing drums and sword dancing as a religious offering at the Annual Autumn Festival in November
Additionally, I’d like to recommend you to try Fujinomiya Yakisoba, fried noodle which won the first prize in the B-class Gourmet Contest and visit Takasago Sake Brewery which produces high quality sake by using groundwater of Mt. Fuji.
Fujinomiya Yakisoba, popular fried noodles using cherry chrimps from Suruga Bay
You can also enjoy gelato using local fresh milk, and trout burger in the food court in front of the shrine.City is famous for cultivation of trout in ponds using graoundwater from Mt. Fuji.
Takasago Sake Brewery which produces high quality sake, Japanese rice wine made of groundwater from Mt.Fuji.
You can enjoy tasting some varieties here.
Please refer to Historic and Scenic Tours at the Foot of Mt. Fuji.
Access to Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine
・10 minute walk from JR Fujinomiya Station
・Bus service from JR Shinkansen Shinfuji Station ( 50 min )