Between the towering skyscrapers of Shinjuku is Hanozono Shrine, an oasis of calm. Come here to breathe, and escape the crowds outside.
Hanozono Shrine - image © Florentyna Leow
The visitor’s first impression of the Shinjuku area is usually of non-stop chaos, with thousands of people walking to and from the station and everywhere in between. But there are surprising oases of calm to be found here. One is Shinjuku Gyoen. Another is Hanazono Shrine, a venerable, historical shrine that also happens to be a quiet respite from the urban madness outside. It is dedicated to Inari, one of the Shinto gods of fertility and worldly success.
Hanazono Shrine dates back to the Edo period, and was once part of the Imperial Gardens. Like most shrines, it regularly hosts a number of festivals, ranging from the more traditional (Setsubun in February) to the colorful Bird Festival in November. Most Sundays, it hosts an antique flea market. More unusually, it also hosts performances by a popular Japanese theatrical company, Karakumi, twice a year on the shrine grounds. This is entirely in line with its affiliations with public entertainment: it is also home to Geino Asama shrine, where one can pay respects to the god of public entertainment and media. As you may have surmised, it’s not entirely uncommon to spot Japanese celebrities at Hanazono Shrine. Follow a visit here with a drink at Golden Gai.
Hanazono-jinja Shrine (Shinto shrine)
5-17-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0022
Subway: Neighbor of exit E2 of Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi and Fukutoshin lines, and Toei Shinjuku line.
Train: 7-minute walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station.
Official Website (Japanese)
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