Inashimo-Jinja Shrine in Matsuzaki

See sculptures and treasures at this Nishi-Izu shrine

By Peter Sidell    - 2 min read

On a visit to Nishi-Izu one time, I was strolling around Matsuzaki, checking out the town's handful of temples and shrines on my way to its main sights. Shrines are something I don't usually find so interesting, but occasionally there'll be one that is, and that's what I found at Inashimo-jinja.

Walk in through the distinctive bright red gate and you enter the garden, where you'll find the first oddities. It's home to a population of wooden sculptures, all evidently carved from single trees or stumps. Some are easier to identify than others: there are animals such as cats, rabbits and cranes, some that may be deities, and my favourite, a totem pole comprised of the three monkeys respectively seeing, hearing and speaking no evil.

I'm not sure what this one is
I'm not sure what this one is

Then next to one of the halls, there's a little sign that says we can find treasures inside, and who's going to resist the lure of treasures? You step up into the building, take off your shoes, greet the priest if he's there to welcome you. There are just a couple of small rooms and narrow passages, but they're absolutely packed with artworks and objects, in display cases and covering every wall.

It's impossible not to find something interesting! There are evocative ancient ink paintings and temple maps with incredible detail, decorative ceramics and figurines, old printed leaflets showing us what look like adverts for new-fangled western fashions, unusually coloured old paintings, Buddhist statues and screens decorated with calligraphy. That's just what I can remember or have photos of, so there was probably plenty more.

An impressive calligraphy screen
An impressive calligraphy screen

Getting there

There are no trains on this coast, so if you're not driving, you'll need to take a bus to get to Matsuzaki. The shrine is more or less immediately next to the Chohachi Museum, about a ten-minute walk from Matsuzaki bus terminal.

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Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.

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Elizabeth S 4 months ago
That's um...a cow?
Justin Velgus 4 months ago
Interesting find. You found some treasures indeed!