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Why Okunitama Shrine is special ?
Okunitama Shrine is a Shinto Shrine in Fuchu City Tokyo. Okunitama Shrine, which is said to have been established in 111AD by Emperor Keiko, is considered to be one of the five major shrines in Tokyo. Okunitama Shrine complex includes seven sub shrines including: Matsuo, Tatsumi, Toshoguu, Sumiyoshi, Owashi, Miyanome and Inari, plus a sumo ring, a memorial for the Japanese-Russo War and gorgeous cherry blossom tree. Okunitama Shrine hosts one of the three oldest festivals in Kanto, the Kurayami matsuri or Darkness Festival between 30 April and 6th of May each year.
Source : http://www.gojapango.com
What to explore at Okunitama Shrine?
Ōkunitama Jinja is probably best known as the location of one of the oldest – some would say oddest – festivals in Kantō, the so-called Darkness Festival. It's held at night, and once upon a time it was a good excuse for single and not-so-single men and women to indulge in mutual disorderly conduct under cover of darkness. When Christian missionaries encountered this during the Meiji era, they were so shocked, or more probably jealous, that they pressurized the Japanese government into changing the festival. Nowadays it's still held in May and at night, but it consists of a mikoshi parade and dancing.
nother popular event at Ōkunitama Jinja is the Chestnut Festival or Autumn Festival, which is held at the shrine on 27 and 28 September. During these two nights, the shrine is decorated with 260 paper lanterns dating back to 1925.
Ōkunitama Jinja enshrines Ōkuninushi (大国主). He's the Shinto god of abundance, medicine, luck and happy marriages, thanks to his persistent pursuing of and eventual marriage to Suseri-hime, the daughter of the god of the underworld. Ōkuninushi³ was really in love: enough to (pretend to) chew centipedes he found in his father-in-law's hair. Read more about it here.
That (his devotion, not the crunchy snack!) explains why the shrine is a popular wedding shrine, and is also regarded as a power spot where you can pray for love.
Ōkunitama Jinja is a sprawling complex with many interesting sub-shrines and other features. Let's look at them one by one, in order as you approach the main shrine from the main outer torii along an avenue lined with towering zelkovas.
How to get to Okunitama Shrine?
It’s 3 minutes’ walk from Fuchu Station.
- The Kurayami (darkness) Festival
- The large-scale plant fair
- The zelkova trees, National Natural Treasures
- Place for a relaxing day
- Shrine’s annual festival
Japan 〒183-0023 東京都府中市 宮町3-1
Tips for you
A bit out of the way in Fuchu, Okunitama Shrine is a nice distraction when visiting the area. It has a beautiful main shrine building and you can buy blessings at a small shrine shop. We always get blessings for auto safety. There is a classic Noh stage, a sumo ring, and a display of portable shrines (omikoshi) that can be seen for a small fee. There is a large parking lot, so easy to visit by car. I love Okunitama Shrine for its peaceful elegance and the opportunity to get a few moments of reflection and get away for the busy city.