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Exploring Togakushi Shrine in Nagano Prefecture

This video, titled "Togakushi Jinja - Oku Sha" (戸隠神社・奥社 Togakushi Jinja - Oku Sha), was created by "sirousaghi."

Togakushi Shrine (戸隠神社, Togakushi Jinja), located in Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, has an upper shrine and a middle shrine at the foot of Mt. Togakushi (戸隠山,Togakushiyama), which is said to have taken its present form from "Amano-Iwato," when the gods still walked the earth.
At the end of the 270 stone steps is a shrine with a history of more than 2000 years, made up of five shrines, including Hoko-sha, Kuzuryu-sha, Hinomiko-sha, and more.

In the days of Shinbutsu-shugo, a mixture of Shinto and Buddhism, it was called Togakushiyama Kenkoji and was a sacred site for Shugendo, and was widely worshipped until the separation of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs.

The upper shrine is dedicated to Ame-no-Tajikarao, who opened Amano-Iwato with his divine power.
As the head shrine of Togakushi Shrine, the upper shrine is said to have the power to bring good luck, fulfill wishes, bring bountiful harvest, and bring victory in sports.

The video starts from the Ikkan Ryuoshi, which can be seen at 0:43, and Zuishinmon Gate can be seen in the middle of the 2km long approach.
This is followed by a line of around 150 Japanese cedar trees on the right and 130 on the left.
Beyond that, there is Iizuna Shrine (飯縄社, Iizuna Jinja), which is shown from 1:39 in the video.

In front of the upper shrine, there is Kuzuryu Shrine dedicated to Kuzuryu.
The exact date is unknown, but it has been dedicated and worshipped as a Jinushigami since before Ame-no-Tajikarao was enshrined.

The History of Togakushi Shrine

Image of Togakushi upper shrine shrine approach, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Togakushi upper shrine shrine approach, Nagano Prefecture

Togakushi Shrine is made up of five shrines around Mt. Togakushi, in northwestern Nagano.
It is registered as a "Kokuhei Shosha" (a Shinto shrine that receives money from the national government or prefectural governments).

There are many theories about the origin of the shrine, and one of them is that current upper shrine was built in 210 B.C., but Kuzuryu Shrine is said to be even older than the upper shrine.
There is also a legend that Ame-no-Tajikarao was welcomed by Kuzuryu, the Jinushigami of the area.

The name of Mt. Togakushi, which is also an object of worship of Togakushi Shrine, comes from the legend that Amaterasu-Ookami was angry with her brother Susano-o-Mikoto, who was hiding in Amano-Iwato, so, Ame-no-Tajikarao threw it with all his might, and a part of it flew away and became a mountain.

There are two important cultural properties stored at Togakushi Shrine: the incomplete remains of "Hokekyo" volume 4 by Fujiwara no Sadanobu and |"Geshaku" which is one of the five ivory shaku existing in Japan.

Access to Togakushi Shrine

Image of Togakushi upper shrine, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Togakushi upper shrine, Nagano Prefecture

Access to Togakushi Shrine is as follows.
【Access via car】
If you're going via highway, get off at the Nagano Interchange or the Shinanomachi Interchange.
We recommend getting off at the Shinanomachi Interchange.
There is little traffic this way and getting to the shrine is easy.
Take Route 18 towards downtown Nagano, turn right at the "Issa Memorial Museum Entrance" (一茶記念館入口) intersection, and pass through the foot of Mt. Kurohime (about 30 minutes).
It's possible to drive to Togakushi Shrine, but you'll have to walk to the upper shrine, so please be aware that the parking lot can get quite crowded.

【Access via walking】
if you're coming on foot, you can take the train, bus, taxi, or use a car rental service.
There is a local bus from JR Nagano Station to Togakushi Shrine, which takes about 70 minutes (Bus stop No.7 at Nagano Station).

Sightseeing Information for Togakushi Shrine

Image of Zaru Soba
Photo:Zaru Soba

There are a lot of sightseeing destinations around Togakushi Shrine:

Togakushi Forest Botanical Garden
Togakushi Folk Museum
・Togakushi Ninja Museum
・Ninja Trick Mansion
Kagami Ike Pond
Togakushi Campground
Chibikko Ninja Village

These are just a few famous sightseeing sites in Nagano.
You can also enjoy specialties of Nagano, such as soba.

Summary of Togakushi Shrine

Image of a row of cedar trees at upper Togakushi Shrine, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:A row of cedar trees at upper Togakushi shrine, Nagano Prefecture

While you can of course enjoy the history of Togakushi Shrine, it's also popular sightseeing spot for couples because of the two Japanese cedar trees, which are believed to bring good fortunate to couples.
There's also "Togakushi Shrine Daidai Kagura," an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Nagano.

Togakushi Shrine is also one of the most famous power spots in Nagano.
You can visit to collect shuin or buy good luck charms as well.

There are many other amazing sightseeing locations, so be sure to explore the area during your visit to Nagano!

【Tripadvisor】Togakushi Shrine

Written By
Last Updated : Dec. 3, 2021
鈴木 正孝(Masataka Suzuki)
A writer born and raised in Asakusa, Tokyo who loves traveling and novels
Togakushi Shrine - Explore a Famous Shinto Shrine in Nagano, Japan. Highlights and Nearby Tourist Attractions of the 2,000-Year-Old Power Spot!
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