Attraction Kanda Shrine 2-16-2 Sotokanda Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021 Japan Published on: 26-02-2016
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Why Kanda Myojin is special ?
Kanda Myojin Shrine is the chief guardian god of Edo and was established in the second year of Tempo according to the old Japanese calendar that corresponds to 730 C.E on the modern calendar. People are very proud of Kanda Myojin Shrine's very long history over 1270 years. Kanda Myojin Shrine is very popular with the local people because they feel that if they worship here it will give them: happy family life, success and prosperity in their businesses, and will help them to find a well-matched marriage partner. Recently, because Kanda Myojin Shrine is not so far away from Akihabara, it has become the guardian of I.T data. People can get a lucky charm here called the "Protection and Safe keeper of I.T Data", which has become increasingly popular. Every year during the New Years celebrations, many of the engineers and people who run businesses from the area come to Kanda Myojin Shrine and buy this lucky charm.
What to explore at Kanda Myojin?
After you go through the large torii to Kanda Myojin Shrine, you will see the magnificent gate just in front of you. This gate is Zuishin Mon; it is painted vermillion and is entirely made from solid Japanese Cypress. The roof over the gate is a traditionally-styled Japanese roof, called "Irimoya Zukuri." If you look, you will see that it has carvings of the Shijin, or four Taoist gods on it, who are: the red phoenix, the white tiger, the blue dragon and black turtle-snake. The colors are so vivid and nice because it was repainted and restored in the 10th year of Heisei, which corresponds to 1998 on our calendar.
The structure of Sha-den is made from reinforced concrete; it has been built in a very unique style closely linked to that of Hon-den or the main shrine, Hei-den the place of offerings and Hai-den the place of worship. Sha-den has been designated as one of the National Registered Cultural Properties. It is a very impressive sight stood there in its vivid vermillion color.
The Kanda Festival
The Kanda Festival is also known as the Tenka Festival, which is one of the three greatest festivals held in Japan. The other two great festivals are: the Gion Festival, which is held in Kyoto and the Tenjin Festival, which is held in Osaka. The Kanda Festival is well worth going to as it has a lot of really good things to see. One part of this festival is called the Shinko Festival. The highlights of the Shinko Festival includes the parades of mikoshi (portable shrine), dashi (highly decorated float) and thousands of people as well as an extremely exciting procession in which mikoshi is carried up into the shrine.
How to get to Kanda Myojin?
From Ochanomizu Station on the Chiyoda Line take Exit B1, walk across the bridge over the river and straight on to the next traffic signal. Turn right, the shrine is on the left.
From JR Ochanomizu Station, take the Hijiribashi Exit and follow the same route across the river.
From the Marunouchi Line, take Exit 1, walk down the street under the overpass and carry on to the next corner. Turn left, walk up the hill, you should be able to see the torii gate to the left. The dark temple-like building you are passing on your left is Yushima Seido, a memorial to Confucius.
- “Peaceful shrine in quiet area.”
- “Awesome Japanese Wierdness”
- “A beautiful temple.”
- “Relaxing Shrine near Akihabara”
- “Historic Major Tokyo Shrine”
Kanda Shrine 2-16-2 Sotokanda Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021 Japan
Tips for you
We visited for Shichi-Go-San on a recommendation from Shibuyakko. (Thank you!) Kanda Myojin was perfect for that. Loads of dressed up children and their proud parents and grandparents were everywhere having their photos taken by family members and professionals. A horse appeared near the small stage on the side of the courtyard and then was soon gone. A Lion Dance to the playing of flutes and drums followed. The lion leaned over the stage, "transformed" to another lion performer who went around the courtyard and snuck up from behind several children and frightened some of them. In addition to the real live lion dance, there is a vending machine with an electric lion dancer who distributes fortunes if you put in a coin. On the day we were there, we saw at least two weddings and several other wedding couples were at the temple to have their photos taken; this is probably because Daikoku is one of the gods enshrined here. Another god here, Ebisu, is the god of fishermen and is usually portrayed with a fishing rod. Off to the side of the main courtyard is an interesting sculpture of Ebisu as a child on a circular wave. The temple itself is quite colorful and worth a visit, even when it is not holding a festival. It was a bit difficult to find - just keep looking for high ground. There are two entrances, one up a steep flight of stairs found at the end of a small alley and one up a hilly street. The route is described in greater detail by others here.
First, like almost all Shinto Shrines in Tokyo Kanda Myojin dates back centuries, however also like most it was burned during the war and the present shrine in a concrete reconstruction. Never the less it is worth visiting. In the spring there is a major festival held at the shrine with omikoshi, (portable shrines) paraded through the thronged streets. It is a tad difficult to find. Directions as follows: From Ochanomizu Station west exit turn right on the broad avenue follow it over the canal, actually the Kanda River for about 2 blocks until you come to another broad avenue on the north side of a large and very interesting Buddhist Temple which is worth a brief stop. Cross the intersection and then turn right, the entrance to the shrine is located about 80 meters on the north side of the street. It is a small street, but the gate of the shrine is visible from the main avenue just keep looking. As I remember it is the 1st cross street of any size after you turn. Turn left here and walk up a gentle grade to the shrine. As an aside, along the broad avenue about 1/2 way from the corner is a small shop selling Japanese woodblock prints some original and some reproductions. The ones I looked at were modest in price and might be appropriate for a memento of the day. I do not remember the name of the shop so I can not help you there. A visit to the shrine, temple and if you want to walk south from the east entrance to Ochanomizu station to the Russian Orthodox Niccoli (sp?) Cathedral will give you a good day's experience seeing some of the most important religious institutions in Tokyo. Note the Orthodox Cathedral closes at 5 pm 1700 hours daily. There is a fee (contribution) expected to enter the cathedral.
If you’re spending the better part of a day, or even the whole day, in Akihabara, walk just a couple of blocks to the west and discover this place. Kanda Shrine is situated uphill from all the action down in Akiba itself, but I like how this change in elevation adds to a sense of secluded tranquility. The red-and-white colours make for one of the most visually interesting religious site in Japan, at least by my tastes. Of course, this being adjacent to Akiba, the cultures of anime and technology have worked their way in here as well. While here, you should check out the rows of ema (wish plaques), many of which are illustrated by manga/anime artists, and the robotic dragon fortune-telling machine.