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Gifu: Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Located at 178 Sakura-machi in Takayama City in Gifu Prefecture, Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine is the oldest shrine in Takayama City. 

Legend has it that Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine dates back to the 4th century when it was founded by Emperor Nintoku. However, it was hard to verify this as the Japanese started recording history in the 7th century and Emperor Nintoku himself was a legendary figure similar to the main characters of epic poems. 
This horse statue seems to be guarding the shrine's entrance

Follow the steps to the shrine or shaden
Before heading to the shrine, wash your hands first with water from the chōzubachi or purification font
Hall of Votive Tablet
Sakasa-kiri-no-tour-ou (Upside down paulownia stone lantern) is said to disarm the jealousy of evil powers

Walk up the 19 monolithic steps of the Oishidan (Big Stone Steps)
The vicinity map of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

In 1683, during the reign of Lord Kanamori, the shrine was rebuilt and improved. after which the shrine was officially established as the protector of the town. During his reign, Lord Kanamori encouraged traditional arts and craft. Under his patronage, the town became famous for its lacquer-ware and woodwork. The people of Takayama were also regarded as fine craftsmen for their carpentry skills. These are very evident with the woodworks and design of the shrine and the yatai / floats that are used during the Sanno Matsuri and Hachiman Matsuri.

The shrine's Hall of Worship
A peek inside the hall of worship

Speaking of the Hachiman Matsuri, the grand procession actually begins and ends in Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine. There is also a marionette performance of the shrine grounds which is held every morning and afternoon during the said festival. For those who won't be able to see this or attend the festival, they can visit the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan or Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall found in the vicinity of the shrine. 
You can place your donations here
The hall of worship as seen from the side
Kotohira Shrine
 Terusaki Shrine on the left and Fuduzeka on the right
Inari Shrine
The sacred arch leading to the shrine

My family and I got to visit Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine during our 16th day in Japan. It was the last destination in our Takayama City exploration. Although we did not stay long to explore every nook and cranny of the shrine, I still made sure to get the shrine's goshuin for my collection. 
The goshuin of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Overall, Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine is a great place to visit if you prefer to escape the man-made concrete forest of Takayama City. If you want to witness the lively Hachiman Matsuri then make sure to visit the shrine on October 9 and 10. 

Getting there:
From Takayama Station, Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine can be reached by foot (20-minute walk) or by taxi (a 5-minute ride).

Ratings:
Crowd
Cleanliness
Overall rating

Comments

  1. Wow this is another amazing placed that i have never see in japan, thank you for share about this

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  2. Wow, the place looks really cool!

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  3. Very beautiful location! Loved the pictures.

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    1. Thank you Sanjota. I hope to see you in my blog again someday.

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  4. The man made forest is so wonderful I would love to visit this place one day.

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  5. Lucky you, get to see this amazing places. Awesome photography too.

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    1. Thank you so much. =) Please do check out more of my Japan series articles coming out soon.

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  6. Seems like this would be so awesome to experience.

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  7. This place looks great. U had a great time.

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  8. These are great pictures! Thank you for sharing them with us

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    1. You're welcome please do check out my other articles. =)

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  9. Love that horse statue! It definitely seems like it's guarding the temple. Love the details of the shrine.

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    1. I do agree. Sadly, I was not able to find out the history behind the horse statue.

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  10. My brother studied in Japan and when we all go there one day we’ll definitely have to visit these shrines

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    1. Please do share what shrines and temple you have visited. =)

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  11. Great photos! My family has been talking about visiting Japan! I will have to share this with them! Thank you!

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    1. Please do. =) You guys would surely love the country.

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  12. Such a wonderful history of the shrine. I learned so much!

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  13. This is very similar to what you will do in a Hindu temple as well

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  14. Beautiful shrine, this is going on my bucket list of places to visit! It looks beautiful in photos and I bet even more magical in person.

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  15. Beautiful place! If I ever get to Japan, I'll have to visit. Thanks for the great info!

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    1. You're welcome Sarah. I do hope you get to visit Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine soon.

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  16. I've always seen really horrible shrines but these ones look beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome. Shrines in Japan are really beautiful.

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  17. This is such an incredibly beautiful shrine. People are often afraid pf visiting shrines in my place because of how they look and the beliefs that has been formed about them. But this one I'd visit in a brink.

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    1. I agree grace. In my case, I have high respects to other religions and I usually check out their religious places not to worship but learn about its history.

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