Gleaming shrine, autumn sky, divine procession
Discover the enchantment of Yatsurugi Shrine, a sacred site nestled in the heart of Chofu City, Tokyo.
- Address: 3-42-1 Kikonodai, Chofu City, Tokyo
- Phone Number: 042-482-5710 (Aoi Shrine)
- Access: A 15-minute walk from Tsutsujigaoka Station
- Festival Days: Second Sunday of October
Main Events and Attractions of the Festival
Immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of the Yatsurugi Shrine Festival, a spectacle of cultural heritage and joyous celebrations.
Witness the grandeur of the Mikoshi Procession, a sacred parade where the portable shrine, adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant colors, is carried through the streets by devotees. This solemn procession symbolizes the presence of the enshrined deity and is a highlight of the festival.
Be captivated by the mesmerizing Lion Dance, a traditional performance that blends martial arts, acrobatics, and storytelling. The lion, a symbol of strength and good fortune, dances to the rhythm of drums and gongs, captivating audiences with its graceful movements and playful interactions.
Indulge in the culinary delights of the Yatai Village, a lively street fair lined with food stalls offering a tantalizing array of traditional Japanese delicacies. From savory grilled meats and freshly made tempura to sweet treats like fluffy cotton candy and refreshing shaved ice, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
- Mikoshi Procession: A sacred parade featuring the portable shrine carried by devotees
- Lion Dance: A captivating performance combining martial arts, acrobatics, and storytelling
- Yatai Village: A vibrant street fair offering a variety of traditional Japanese culinary delights
Blessings and Deities
Yatsurugi Shrine is dedicated to the deities who have bestowed blessings upon the local community for centuries. These deities include:
- Yaoyorozu no Kami: The collective name for the eight million gods of the Shinto pantheon, representing the diverse forces of nature and human life.
- Susanoo no Mikoto: The fierce and powerful god of storms, seas, and the underworld, known for his slaying of the eight-headed serpent, Yamata no Orochi.
- Inaba Hanzaburo Kami: A local deity revered for his contributions to the development and prosperity of the Chofu area.
These deities are believed to bestow blessings of good fortune, protection, and prosperity upon those who visit the shrine and pay their respects.
Origin and History
The origins of Yatsurugi Shrine are shrouded in mystery, with no precise records of its establishment. However, it is believed to have existed since the Kamakura period (1185-1333), based on the discovery of ancient artifacts and documents in the shrine grounds.
According to local legend, the shrine was founded by eight samurai retainers of the Minamoto clan who settled in the area after the Genpei War (1180-1185). These samurai enshrined their swords as symbols of their loyalty and dedication to the clan, and the shrine was named Yatsurugi (meaning “eight swords”) in honor of their sacrifice.
Over the centuries, Yatsurugi Shrine has undergone several renovations and expansions, reflecting the growing devotion of the local community. It has also been designated as a cultural property by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, recognizing its historical and architectural significance.
Tips and Notes for Visitors
To ensure a meaningful and enjoyable visit to Yatsurugi Shrine, here are some tips and notes for visitors:
- Respectful Attire: When visiting Shinto shrines, it is customary to dress respectfully. Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, or other casual clothing that may be considered失礼 (失礼, impolite).
- Purification Ritual: Before entering the main shrine building, perform the purification ritual by washing your hands and rinsing your mouth at the temizuya (water purification basin).
- Offerings: It is customary to make offerings of money to the shrine. The usual offering is 5 yen, as the Japanese word for “five yen” (五円, goen) is a homophone for “good fortune” (御縁, goen).
- Silent Prayer: When making your offerings, take a moment to silently pray or express your gratitude to the deities.
- Photography: Photography is generally permitted within the shrine grounds, but it is important to be respectful and avoid taking pictures of people without their permission.
Yatsurugi Shrine does not have a dedicated parking lot. However, there are several coin-operated parking lots in the vicinity of the shrine.
- Chofu City Hall Parking Lot: Located a 5-minute walk from the shrine, this parking lot offers convenient parking spaces for visitors.
- Tsutsujigaoka Station Parking Lot: Situated a 10-minute walk from the shrine, this parking lot is a good option for those arriving by train.
- Private Parking Lots: There are also several private parking lots near the shrine that may offer parking spaces for a fee.
Please note that parking fees and availability may vary, so it is advisable to check local signage or inquire with the shrine office for the most up-to-date information.
Popular Stalls and Food Carts in Recent Years
|Type of Stall
|A staple at Japanese festivals. Characterized by a crispy outside and a creamy inside.
|A simple yet popular snack of hot potatoes lavishly topped with melted butter.
|Small castella cakes, sweet and fluffy treats enjoyed by children and adults alike.
|Grilled Ayu with Salt
|Fresh ayu fish grilled whole with salt, a savory taste of Japanese summer.
|A unique gourmet item influenced by foreign cuisine, with a chewy skin wrapping the filling.
|A Japanese grilled dish where you often choose your own ingredients for a personalized flavor.
|A fluffy, sweet snack that’s extremely popular with children.
|A banana coated in chocolate, a fun and visually appealing dessert.
|Various types of ingredients skewered and grilled, an easy-to-enjoy snack.
|Fried noodles mixed with a special sauce, a fast food favorite in Japan.