Monday, December 1, 2008

Kanda Myojin

(Entrance to Kanda Myojin)

The Kanda shrine, popularly known as Kanda Myojin, was originally constructed around 730 AD, and was moved to Edo (now Tokyo) in 1603 by famed Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Its enshrined deities act as guardians for 108 of Tokyo's neighborhoods, including Kanda, Akihabara, the Old Kanda Market, and the Tsukiji Fish Market. Prayers to the enshrined deities are good for family happiness, marriage, prosperity and success in business, recovery from illness, and protection against accidents and disasters, among other things (according to the sign outside the shrine).

(Main shrine building. Click to enlarge.)

The Kanda Matsuri (Kanda festival) is one of Japan's 3 most famous festivals, and is held on odd-numbered years, on the Saturday and Sunday closest to May 15th. Meaning that I may be able to attend the next one, if I'm not working then.

(Entrance to the grounds, as seen from the side.)

The shrine is just outside of the Akihabara district, about 6 blocks west of Chuou dori, just across the street from the Yushima Shrine grounds dedicated to Confucius. It can be reached just as easily from the JR Ochanomizu station.

(One of the symbols for good luck. The person in front in a white and blue robe is one of the priests working here.)

(Another symbol for good fortune. In front, you can see a kind of wire basket. Normally, at Japanese shrines and temples, people write their wishes or prayers on a strip of white paper and tie them to tree branches, bushes, and nearby wire fences. Since there are no trees nearby, the shrine put up the baskets to use instead.)

(Front entrance as seen on the approach.)

(View of one of the booths at the front entrance.)

(Yes, kids, you too can be an Edo-era police officer!)

(Surrounding shrine buildings. A restaurant can barely be seen at the far back end.)

(Barrels of sake, representing donations to the shrine.)

(Fountain for washing your hands to purify them before making a prayer. The fountain mouth is in the shape of a dragon.)

(Detail image of the inside of the main shrine.)

(Some of the shops that sell food, souvenirs, and good luck charms.)

(Souvenir shop on the street leading up to the shrine. The tanuki (raccoon dog) is a common sight next to the entrances of Japanese shops.)

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