7 days in Japan- 10/20/2023-10/26/2023

Day 4- Kanazawa -10/23/2023

Oyama Jinja Shrine

We passed by the shrine last night and it was closed so today we are coming back to visit it.

Oyama Jinja Shrine was originally established in the Utatsuyama area of Kanazawa in 1599. At that time it was called Utatsu Hachimangu Shrine. It was moved to its current location in 1873 and renamed Oyama Jinja. The shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Lord Toshiie Maeda and his wife Omatsu. Lord Toshiie Maeda was an important general during the Warring States Period in Japan and the first ruler of the local Kaga clan who lived at nearby Kanazawa Castle until 1868.


The shrine gate dates from 1875 and is unusual as it shows a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, and European styles. It was designed by a Dutch man named Holtman, and is most famous for the Dutch style stained glass windows on the 3rd floor. There is a story that this top part of the gate was originally used as a light house. Though the gate was unpopular when it was first built, in 1950 in recognition of its unique style it was officially designated as an Important Cultural Asset.


The main gate


History of the shrine


Climbing up the stairs....


We are now of the top level of the shrine


Entering the shrine


Panoramic view of the courtyard leading to the shrine.  On the left is the Temizu, shinto purification fountain


Water cleansing before entering the shrine


Hoa is headed to the shrine.


In front of the main hall stand the haiden, a small room for private worship.



The Interior of the shrine: the haiden, or front-most hall is where worship takes place. Rarely, it offers a view of the honden, or back-most holy shrine area, to the public. It’s within the honden that Toshiie and Matsu are enshrined. Even the priests face the honden more often than they face the crowds during ceremonies and presentations of offerings


The front garden


Pairs of lion‑dogs (komainu), featuring a lion head and a canine body, are traditionally placed before the entrance of Shinto shrines to ward off evil.


Ema are small wooden plaques in which Shinto and Buddhist worshippers write prayers or wishes. Ema are left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) are believed to receive them


On the left are "Omikuji" which are fortune telling paper strips.  If you unfortunately draw bad luck fortune, tie it to a designated place in the grounds of the shrine or temple so that the bad fortune will wait around at the tree instead of following you home.


Side view of the shrine


There is a huge garden in the back of the shrine.


Sculptures of water lilies with golden frogs.


So cute!


A statue of Lord Toshiie Maeda, the first lord of the Maeda family who ruled Kanazawa from 1583 to 1868, is clad in armor and riding a horse.


History of Lord Maeda.


Closer view of Lord Maeda sculpture


Sculpture of Omatsu who is Lord Maeda's wife.


Toshiie Maeda’s wife, Omatsu, who was known for her intelligence and diplomatic skills. She was a great help to her husband during Japan’s Warring States Period, and was very popular in Kanazawa. Perhaps because of the success of their marriage, many people pray for a happy marriage at this shrine.


 The garden was originally designed by Kobori Enshu (1579-1647) a famous gardener and architect of the Momoyama era.


The outline of the pond is shaped to resemble a biwa or Japanese lute. It has three islands and a decorative bridge all connected by stepping stones and a zig-zag wooden bridge, called “yatsuhashi” in Japanese.


The shape of the bridge and islands are fashioned after the traditional musical instruments used in gogaku.. Because of this, it also holds the moniker "Gakki no Niwa", “The Garden of Musical Instruments.” It’s designated as a Scenic Spot of Ishikawa Prefecture


The garden is really magnificent.


So peaceful and so pretty.




The garden is so serene to walk around.




We are now leaving the garden.


View from the top of the shrine facing the street ahead.


Main gate facing street below.


From here you can see the street below.


The main Tori gate.


NEXT... Day 4-Omicho Market




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