Nearby in Kabukicho : Hanazono Shrine

Going around in Kabukicho in a salaryman suit can be an uncomfortable experience. Popular red light district of Shinjuku it was right next to the place where I used to visit a customer for my weekly meetings. Within all the noise of the services of the entertainment district and LED lights is a blissful and a very clean Shinto Shrine Hanazono Jinja. Although I passed by it numerous times, just outside the customers office, I visited it for the first time a week back.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoApproximately 10 minutes easy walk from Shinjuku JR station, the first thing you’ll notice is how clean and well maintained the shrine is. Secondly it is a very quiet surreal property not what you would expected in a busy part of the city Shinjuku. The area is also quite wide and a lovely place for a walk and the Cherry blossom season is a recommended time for a visit. Shrines in Tokyo are like little gems to sit and getaway from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and Hanazono Shrine certainly is that place.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoThe shrine although has been reconstructed, is old and stood watching over Shinjuku from before the start of the Edo period (1603-1868). You can pray here to bring prosperity in business more so if you are in the entertainment field. The proximity to the entertainment district Kabukicho area brings this reasonable connection to the shrine.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoSimilar to other Shinto shrines, Hanazono Jinja sells charms and ema (wooden plates to write your wish you want to be fulfilled on). You write your wish on an ema and hang it up at the temple
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoThe entrance has beautiful cherry blossoms (pink variety) and the blissful experience start right at the entrance itself. There are no gates so you can visit anytime. In the morning, you can find Japanese coming here to pray before they go to work.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoThe blossoms are usually in the last week of March, and are a sight to watch on the backdrop of the bright red shrine and the concrete jungle in the background. The shrine is popular for yet another thing, Antique markets that have traditionally been held on shrine grounds since days of old. It is said that there are incredible bargains to be had in antique kimonos and miscellaneous goods and am planning to visit it the coming weekend.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoAt the entrance you can wash your hands and clean your mouth before you go to visit the gods enshrined in the main hall of the Hanazono Shrine.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoSeveral deities are enshrined at Hanazono Shrine, including Yamato-takeru-no-Mikoto. The Shrine is dedicated to him. . Yamato-takeru-no-Mikoto is a legendary 4th-century imperial prince who at the behest of Yamato Court, conquered barbaric aboriginal tribes.
Hanazono Shrine Shinjuku TokyoAn annual festival is conducted on the week around  May 28th. The main feature of the festival is a parade of a magnificent miniature shrine accompanied by Shinto festival music players. The parade starts at Hanazono Shrine and proceeds along Yasukuni Street, Shinjuku Street. A recommended visit during the festive season.
imageWe went around the Shrine and took this panoramic view with the back side Torii partly in the picture.
imageA panoramic orthogonal (45 degree) side-view. Architectures always look beautiful from this angle, at least in my engineering days we were always asked to depict things from this point of view.
imageThe shrine attracts all generations, with three ladies seen chattering in the shrine campus.
imageTwo small subsidiary shrines to Inari and the god of the arts, are also on the campus. The Torii (red colored gate marks the entrance to the smaller Hanazono Inari Shrine
imageThe shrine is indeed an oasis in the entertainment district a place of tranquility. I went back to my worldly duties descending from the back side exit which literally leads you straight into the Kabukicho red light district. What a contrast!


  1. Reply

    Well, that was amazing..
    I surprised how they maintain and conserve this heritage. While in my country, the places like shrines look untreated well.
    That tori is like the gate to “another world”. When you entered the shrine area, I can feel the serene atmosphere through your pictures. Yes, that’s very contrast with the concretes and bustling city sounds in the background.

    “It’s not just about the destination, but the journey”

  2. Pingback: Inari, Bali and Snow | blacksteps

  3. Pingback: Inari, Bali and Snow | blacksteps

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