By Moira Cotter
October 2017 was marked by unusually bad weather throughout Japan. In Tokyo it rained almost every day, but, as I found out strolling through the neighborhood of Akasaka, rain has its magic. It makes things look different and sometimes gives more charm to already charming places.
One of those is the well-known Hie Shrine, a popular place for formal ceremonies and events like Shichi-Go-San, a children's celebration in November, and the Sanno Matsuri in May. It stands on a little hill and consists mostly of open spaces. You can approach the shrine from different directions via sets of stairs. The eastern approach is famous for its numerous red torii gates reminiscent of Kyoto, and the northern part is simply quiet and peaceful—very enjoyable in the rain. You can see the northern stairs in the video.
An interesting fact about Hie Shrine that I didn’t know before: it’s one of the “10 Shrines of Tokyo”—a modern day Shinto pilgrimage established in 1975 largely for the purposes of promoting tourism. Maybe one day I’ll visit all of them and collect all their calligraphy stamps in one album.
Hie Shrine is next to Tameike Sanno Station. It's also accessible via the Ginza and Nanboku subway lines.
Find out more about Hie Shrine.