Mitsumine Shrine in Chichibu

Sacred trees, wolf spirits and opulent carvings

By Cathy Cawood   Mar 23, 2019 - 1 min read

This large and very beautiful mountain shrine is dedicated to wolf spirits (among others), and you can see a number of wolf statues around the grounds. Though they are now extinct, Japanese wolves once roamed these mountains, and people believed wolf spirits protected people's homes from fire and burglary. Because of that the Shrine was very popular with the people of Edo.

Walking around the shrine grounds is a pleasure - you never know what will be around the corner. Keep your eyes open for lovely views over the surrounding mountains, an elegant red tower, ornate carvings on the main hall, a mysterious stone with a hidden dragon, and sacred trees that will renew your strength if you place your hands and forehead against their trunks. There is also a very beautiful red gate named Zuishinmon, which is one of the most beautiful gates I have seen, and a statue of Yamato Takeru who founded the shrine some 1900 years ago, and a memorial to Mas Oyama who founded Kyokushin Karate.

And if they are still selling them outside the restaurant, don't miss the miso potato skewers. They were really good!

Getting there

Take a Seibu Line train to Seibu Chichibu station (about 80 minutes on the Red Arrow Express from Ikebukuro Station), then catch a bus for Mitsumine Shrine right outside the station, which takes about 1 hour.

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Cathy Cawood

Cathy Cawood @cathy.cawood

 I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for nine years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014. I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.