Learning about Mt. Fuji before climbing I discovered that the mountain was associated with a certain shrine - Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha located in the town of Fujinomiya. That was why I chose to climb Mt. Fuji via the Fujinomiya Trail as visiting that shrine before climbing was a very important part of a pilgrimage ascent.
The colour of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha is red, a very festive and optimistic colour. The grand red torii at the entrance always awakens a feeling of entering something larger than everyday life, bringing peace to the soul…
On the way to the main gates there is an equestrian monument to the founder of the first Shogunate of Japan – Minomoto-no-Yoritomo. The historical horseback archery festival known as yabusame is held annually on May 4-6th near Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha. It derives from Minomoto-no Yoritomo’s hunt at the foot of Mt. Fuji in 1193 in dedication to the shrine. I find such long histories to be quite exciting!
Before entering the main shrine you'll find a very peaceful garden with ducks and ducklings and the usual koi (carps) that make people stop and watch for a while. The main shrine called honden is an unusual two-storied one with a roof structure known as asama-zukiri. This shrine is an important cultural property of Japan. Praying before my climb is something I considered to be an important part of the pilgrimage. I also bought a special hiking staff with two bells attached to it with a red ribbon in the shrine’s booth and a bottle of water from the sacred spring to take with me. After putting a 100 yen coin into a box you take a plastic bottle and fill it from the spring yourself.
An evening stroll along the river on the right side of the shrine is quite pleasant. There are red bridges beautifully reflecting in the pond’s water and some small shrines, one with kitsune guardians. As the shrine is opened until 9pm, you'll see it beautifully illuminated.
Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha is a 10-15 minute walk from JR Fujinomiya Station.
Find out more about Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine.
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I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!