With a history of over 1000 years and buildings that haven’t changed since the Edo period (1603-1868), Akasaka Hikawa Shrine has been designated as an important cultural property. It is a shrine that has been loved by the shoguns of the Edo Shogunate and is still loved by the people of today.
In 951, Akasaka Hikawa Shrine started in its former located, in Akasaka’s Hitotsugi-cho. This is where the current Akasaka shopping street is located. There is a story about the shrine, where in the past there was a great drought in the Kanto region. The shrine performed prayers for rain and it finally started raining. Since then, festivities are held to honor and remember that time.
At the beginning of the Edo period, the Edo Shogunate (which was a “big fan” of the shrine) decided to move the shrine to a new location. The famous Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune – the eighth Tokugawa shogun – built the present shrine on the current site in 1729. The shrine moved to the site in 1730.
Before the shrine was built, the site was home to the house of the parents of Asano Takumi’s wife. He is one of the main characters from the famous Edo period revenge drama “Chushingura“, which are true events that were turned into countless dramas, movies, and kabuki plays.
Akasaka Hikawa Shrine today
The shrine buildings built during the Edo period miraculously remained unharmed during all the time that has passed. When you walk around, you might get the chance to see some of the festival mikoshi (portable shrines) and floats displayed. The mikoshi and floats are the vehicles for spirits. Locals help to carry them around the town every year in fall during the Akasaka Hikawa Festival. As you can see, Akasaka Hikawa Shrine has a lot to offer in terms of Japanese tradition. Walking around the shrine’s precincts feels like traveling through the history and culture of Japan.
The shrine is actively trying to preserve classic Japanese culture by offering Japanese musical instruments classes for parents and children, as well as tea ceremony and ikebana classes. History fans, festival lovers, people who are interested in Japanese culture, worshippers who hope for marriage luck, and many others visit Akasaka Hikawa Shrine. Once you step into the precincts, you will surely understand why this shrine has been loved for over 1000 years.
*For more information about events, please see the Akasaka Hikawa Shrine official website.
Akasaka Hikawa Shrine
6-10-12 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/9xU42fb1afu11LcZ9
Nearest station: Akasaka Station, Roppongi Station, Roppongi-itchome Station, Tameike-Sanno-Station