Soka Shrine

A family-friendly suburban shrine

By Sleiman Azizi    - 2 min read

Peep into every nook and cranny of the country and you are most certainly going to discover a local shrine. They are everywhere, from tiny little patches of ground to huge compounds of Imperial solemnity, wherever you go you will find a shrine.

So you can imagine my embarrassment to discover a shrine that, by all rights, ought to be as visible as the sky is blue. Alas, life takes you along some interesting directions and despite the area being very familiar to me, Soka Shrine somehow spent years evading my notice.

Soka Shrine (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sokajinjya-7.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
Soka Shrine (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Originally established in the late 16th century under the name of Hikawa Shrine, Soka Shrine is now a decidedly modern shrine, no doubt, spotless with its clean lines and current demeanour. As the major Shinto shrine of the area, Soka Shrine is also a popular location for many community occasions like the shichi-go-san ceremony for children. Post occasion, a nice little bakery across the road offers some tasty breads while a local children's play area features a real-life steam locomotive engine.

Set well back as it is from its torii gate, Soka Shrine seems larger than what it is with features common to many shrines such as komainu guardian statues, temizuya ablution wells and lovely woodworking details. The gingko tree is a nice point of contemplation while goshuin stamp books can be completed at the shrine, a nice little souvenir, particularly when the shrine is visited as part of a mini-pilgrimage.

Ablution well, Soka Shrine (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sokajinjya-6.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
Ablution well, Soka Shrine (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Soka Shrine is quite the family-friendly suburban shrine, complete with all of the standard spiritual trimmings of Shinto shrines across the nation. And like many places in Japan, once it grabs your attention, it is unlikely to ever let go.

Getting there

Take the Tobu Skytree Line to Soka Station. The shrine is 3-minute walk from the West Exit.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I have over 400 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style. I happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via sleiman.azizi@japantravel.com

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S 2 weeks ago
Is this shrine related to Omiya’s big shrine, since they share the name Hikawa?

Another shrine renamed after its City is Kashiwa Shrine. I wonder how common it is for cities to claim shrines.
Elizabeth S 2 weeks ago
That's community spirit!
Kim B 2 weeks ago
I like these small neighborhood shrines. They always tend to have an approachable atmosphere.
Sleiman Azizi Author 2 weeks ago
Yeah, that's a good way of describing it, an approachable atmosphere.
Gary Luscombe 2 weeks ago
I still haven't found all of the shrines in my city and that is despite the fact it is 70% forest! I'll bet this one has an interesting history to go with its understated nature.
Sleiman Azizi Author 2 weeks ago
Oh there are shrines galore!
Elena Lisina 2 weeks ago
Unusual to see snow in Tokyo!
Sleiman Azizi Author 2 weeks ago
Saitama!