Experience the Edo period, one hour from Tokyo!

Do you have a little extra time during your visit to Tokyo?
Looking for a place to immerse yourself in Japanese landscapes, but don’t have enough time to travel too far?
Look no further!

Only an hour away and 470 yen by local train from Shinjuku, Kawagoe is the perfect city to visit if you’re looking for a break from the busy streets of Tokyo and want to experience old Japan! Why not stop by Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine when you visit Kawagoe City? This shrine is widely known for its enmusubi effect, which is said to enhance human relations and connections between people.

2017-05-17   Travel Destinations, Saitama,

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine


【contents】
Don’t underestimate Hikawa Shrine’s 1500 years of history!
What is en?
Only twenty available per day. Get your enmusubi-dama here!
Wash away your bad luck with the holy water!
Keep cool during summertime in Saitama
Didn’t plan anything for the weekend… oh wait, let’s go to Kawagoe!

氷川神社社号
氷川神社社号

Don’t underestimate Hikawa Shrine’s 1500 years of history!

This beautiful shrine sits in the north of Kawagoe City, right next to Kawagoe Castle. A small river runs behind it, cherry blossoms line up along the sides of the riverbed, and are in full bloom during the spring. Large festivals take place depending on the season, and there is a vast amount of nature that surrounds the shrine.

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is said to be built by Kinmei Tennou, the ruling Japanese emperor 1500 years ago! It is no surprise that Kawagoe city is thriving with it’s over 340,000 people living in the area today. Hikawa Shrine has been very well preserved by governments over the ages, because it was chosen to protect Kawagoe City.
Particularly noteworthy is the wooden sculpture on the main temple created during the Edo period. Wooden engravings were made on each side of the main shrine, which took more than seven years to complete. This architecture embodies the respect Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine has carried throughout time.

I wasn’t able to take any good pictures, because of the fencing around the sculpture. Make sure to take a peek inside when you stop by.

Another fun fact to know is that, the wooden Torii gate (pictured above) is the largest of its kind in Japan.

Respect for Kawagoe Shrine has not changed since its creation, and is still ever present today.

Enmusubi-dama

What is en?

En is used in everyday conversation among Japanese people, so it’s worth knowing this word by the time you leave Japan. En is the connection between people, whether it be your loved ones, friends, or even complete strangers who you pass by at the coffee shop. It is commonly known in Japan that en connects people together, like an invisible string woven through everyone. Musubi means knot, so En-musubi is the action of tying together the strings of connections between people. The English equivalent would probably be to “tie the knot”, once you’ve made up your mind. The only difference is, en can be applied to anyone you encounter. Because the deities at Hikawa Shrine are said to be Gods for husbands and wives, the shrine is filled with couples and people looking for better relationships and stronger bonds.

Only twenty available per day. Get your enmusubi-dama here!

Why do people line up everyday at 7 a.m.?
To receive the enmusubi-dama (literally, “the small sphere of enmusubi”)!
Every day, the Miko priestess picks up twenty little rocks from the shrine, conducts a cleansing ceremony, offers the rocks to the gods, then gives them away to people who are waiting in line.
It is very common for people to begin lining up at 7 a.m. (weekdays) and 5 a.m. (weekends).

Looking for even more good luck and good en?
Prayers for successful relationships are held twice a month, at 8:08 a.m. on the 8th of each month, and every fourth Saturday. If you decide to take part in this ceremony, the shrine gives out many celebratory presents for you to take home. It might be worthwhile trying it out if you feel like getting a bit more excitement in your relationships.
Warning: Make sure you sign in by 7:50am! The surprising thing about this ceremony is, it’s price is however much you would like to donate.

Shimenawa

Shimenawa and paper figures
Once the paper figure melts away, so will your problems

Wash away your bad luck with the holy water!

A waterhole bubbles in the pond at the shrine, and you can wash away your bad luck there using paper dolls. This is called hitogata-nagashi, literally meaning washing away paper dolls. A single doll is 100 yen.

How to conduct a hitogata-nagashi (from the sign next to the pond)

  1. Breathe three times onto the doll
  2. Rub the doll against your body. Your bad luck will transfer to the doll.
  3. Say the words Haraetamae Kiyometamae while floating the doll onto the surface of the water.
    Note:○Do not fold the doll
    ○Make sure the doll passes under the shimenawa, or holy rope

Watch as the doll sinks away under the tiny holy rope built across the tiny river, along with all your daily stress and bad luck. It can be difficult to watch your doll float all the way down the river, because of the long lines on weekends and holidays. Don’t worry though, just take a breather and let your stress melt away on the little waterhole.

Enmusubi-furin
Enmusubi-furin
The lovely little pond that lights up during the summer
The lovely little pond that lights up during the summer

Keep cool during summertime in Saitama

Summertime in Saitama prefecture is anything but cool, especially because it’s located at the inland of the Kanto region.
Looking for something that might cool you down? Look no further! Try going out to see the enmusubi-furin (glass bells that tinkle when the wind blows) and the waterhole, lit up to look like the Milky Way!

Walk through the small corridor with countless hung furin wavering in the wind.

Try stopping by when you visit Kawagoe during the summer!

The 2016 furin festival is held from
July 9th (Sat) to August 31st (Sun)
9:00~21:00
furin festival

Didn’t plan anything for the weekend… oh wait, let’s go to Kawagoe!

Right next to Tokyo, filled with history, and populated with hundreds of thousands of people living within the city, Kawagoe is probably one of the only cities around the Tokyo metropolis where one can experience the history of Japan. Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is the embodiment of modern and ancient Japan living together.
Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is a great destination for anyone traveling in Kawagoe! It’s only at a ten-minute walk from the Candy Alley, Kawagoe Warehouse Street, and other landmarks such as the Bell of Time.
Kawagoe Warehouse Street

With its seasonal festivals and landscapes that change throughout the year, it’s safe to say that Kawagoe will keep you coming back for more.

Map

埼玉県川越市宮下町2-11-3

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AUTHOR

Lisa

Lisa

Writer / Translator

Introducing... Just another poor college student living in Japan! My passion for music and nature drives me to live every day to the fullest. Ask me about Shimane and my favorite local shops in Tokyo!

Information

Address Saitama Pref. Kawagoe City Miyashitacho 2-11-3
Hours -
Price -
Close -
Access From Shinjuku Station:
Yamanote Line→transfer at Ikebukuro St.→ Tobu Tojo Line→Get off at Kawagoe Station (630 yen), walk 28 min. Total: 1hr.13min
From Seibu Shinjuku Station:
Seibu Shinjuku→
a. Take the Red Arrow to Honkawagoe Station, get off at Honkawagoe Station (920 yen)→walk 22 min. Total: 1 hr. 9min
b. Take the express to Honkawagoe Station, get off at Honkawagoe Station (500 yen)→walk 22 min. Total: 1 hr. 24min
Phone -
Website http://www.kawagoehikawa.jp/#/shoukai/