Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yushima Shrine

(Entrance to Yushima, including compound map)

I admit that as I am writing this, I haven't actually been inside Yushima Shrine yet. Maybe I'll add a comment about that at the end prior to uploading this entry. The full story of my adventure will be included in a later post. Suffice it to say that when I first stumbled across this place one night that I wasn't actually looking for it, and when I took the photos a couple of days later, I'd returned specifically to visit Kanda Myojin, next door, and had come by here because I'd mistakenly walked up one block father south than I'd needed to. But now that I know a little more about it, I'm curious as to what's inside.

(Entrance to main compound grounds)

Yushima (the name means "hot water" and "island", but doesn't really relate to anything in the area) was originally established in 1690 AD by the Tokugawa Shogunate as a school for studying Confucian thought as part of the training for local bureaucrats. It's currently being treated as a shrine to Confucius himself and is no longer being used as a school. According to the Japan Visitor site, the grounds hold the training building, a statue, and a fair amount of plant life. The site is about 1 block by 2 blocks and is surrounded by a long wall. While it's located next to Kanda Myojin, the one entrance is on the opposite side of the compound, facing the Ochanomizu JR train station. According to a really badly translated Japanese site, the buildings were burned down in four separate fires during the Edo period (1630-1867), and were reconstructed yet again in 1935 following the fires of the great Kanto earthquake in 1923. Yushima was declared a national historical site in 1922.

(Main building.)

In a later post, I'll talk about how close some of the JR train stations are to each other. But, the Ochanomizu station is on the Sobu line, one stop from Akihabara. They're within walking distance of each other (15 minutes). While I hadn't actually realized it, rather than going into Akihabara for work and then walking to Yushima shrine and back, I can just as easily exit at Ochanomizu during my commute, and visit the shrine before walking to Akihabara to start my job.

(Main building at night.)

I mentioned above that I was going to talk here about my attempt to visit the inside of the main building. Turns out that the main building is closed to visitors except on weekends and national holidays, which are the days that I have work. I might try going during my lunch break one Saturday, but I'll only have 5-10 minutes to look around in that case. It doesn't open until 10 AM, and that's when I have to start teaching my first lesson.

(Outside wall, leading to Kanda Myojin.)

(Back wall of compound, from entrance to Kanda Myojin, showing main building.)

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