Kanda Myojin / 神田明神

Today I paid a visit to Kanda Myojin! More formally known as Kanda Shrine (神田神社) this shrine in the Sotokanda neighborhood of Chiyoda City is a special place for residents of Tokyo. Founded in year 2 of the Tenpyo period (天平2年 / 730 A.D.), the shrine is the patron of 108 different neighborhoods in Chiyoda City, including some very famous places such as Kanda (神田), Nihonbashi (日本橋) and Marunouchi (丸の内). The Shrine has been in its present location in Sotokanda ("Outer Kanda" / 外神田) since year 2 of the Genna period (元和2年 / 1616) after being relocated twice; first from it's original location in what's now known as Ōtemachi (大手町), and then again from it's second location in Kanda (神田). Both relocations were done to accommodate the expansion of Edo Castle.

Daikokuten (大黒天)
Home to Daikokuten (大黒天), Ebisu (恵比須), and Taira no Masakado (平将門), three of the Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神 / Shichi Fukujin), Kanda Shrine has been a source of happiness, good luck, safety wealth and prosperity, as well as a popular wedding spot for nearly 1,300 years.

Kanda Shrine is also the center of Kanda Matsuri, one of the three great Shinto festivals of Edo (my readers might remember reading about Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa, one of the other three great festivals). Kanda Matsuri is especially famous for its highly decorative and ornamental Mikoshi (神輿), and is held in mid-May once every 2 years.

One part of my visit which was especially fascinating for me was looking at Kanda Shrine's Ema (絵馬). Ema are an important part of Shintoism in which we purchase small wooden plaques from the shrine upon which we write our wishes and dreams and hang them up where the Gods can receive them. As I mentioned earlier, Kanda Shrine is the patron for numerous neighborhoods, one of which happens to be Akihabara. Akihabara's role as the holy land of manga and anime leads many artists, both minor and world-famous ones, to the shrine. Lots of manga and anime artists and fans alike draw their artwork on the Ema along with their wishes for the Gods and so the Ema become amazing decorations for the shrine (well...even more amazing than usual!)

No comments:

Post a Comment