MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Akihabara’s Kanda Shrine

A short walk from the Akihabara Electric Town is the Kanda Myojin or the Kanda Shrine. It's apparently a little-known Shinto shrine but boasts vermillion-coloured halls surrounding a courtyard.

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We visited towards the end of the day when the halls were closing up but we could still walk through the courtyard and grounds surrounding the halls.

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There were a few other visitors, some there to make an offering, and the odd commuter taking a short cut through the grounds. Peaceful and a little respite from our earlier consumer exploration in geek town.

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As we passed through the courtyard gate, we came across an interesting fountain featuring a dragon spout. The water poured out of the dragon's mouth and into a large stone trough in which the dragon sits and it overflows onto the ground and subsequently the drains which in turn surround the basin.

To highlight our naivety, we thought the water was to clean our hands after our visit, but we later found out how to use the fountain properly in our Lonely Planet guide book.

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The water is used to purify oneself before entering the sacred areas. The traditional way to do it is to take one of the long-handled ladles and fill it with fresh water from the tap. Pour some water onto one hand, and then transfer the ladle to do the same to the other hand. After this, you pour more water into a cupped hand in order to rinse your mouth. All water you've touched is meant to be discarded on the ground - not back in the trough which would make it impure.

The gods enshrined here are said to bring luck in business and in finding a spouse. Here was one guy making an offering.

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Typically for the Japanese, the place is well-kept and kept practical such as using clear plastic to protect the paper lanterns.

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As we were wandering around, we also came across two wooden racks on which were hung lots of wooden plaques.

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These are called ema, plaques you buy from the shrine and on which a wish could be written (not necessarily in Japanese). There were also some paper strips tied to the racks as well as a long and colourful origami composition.

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Check out more photos in the Kanda Shrine photoset

Check Wikipedia for more information on the Kanda Shrine

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This entry posted in : Culture. History. Japan. Tourism.

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