when and where to see fall foliage (Japanese version only):

Saturday, January 29, 2011

the numbers of visiting shrines and temples

Many Japanese people visit a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple at the beginning of January.
Although The National Police Agency used to release its estimates for people visiting shrines and temples between January 1st and 3rd around this time of the year, it announced that it would not release the estimates due to its inexactness last year.

The Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples that were ranked in the top ten in 2010 are as follows.

1. Meiji Jingu Shrine(明治神宮)   3.2 million visitors
2. Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple(成田山新勝寺)   2.98 million
3. Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple(川崎大師平間寺)   2.96 million
4. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine(伏見稲荷大社)   2.7 million
5. Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine (住吉大社, Sumiyoshi-taisha)   2.6 million
6. Senso-ji Temple(浅草寺) in Asakusa(7位)  2.54 million
7. Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine(鶴岡八幡宮)   2.5 million
8. Atsuta-jingu Shrine (熱田神宮)   2.35 million
9. Omiya Hikawa Jinja Shrine(大宮氷川神社)   2.05 million
10. Dazaifu Tenman-gu Srinne(大宰府天満宮)   2 million

Meiji Jingu Shrine was built in 1920 to honor Emperor Meiji(1852-1912)  and Empress Shoken(1849-1914).

Groves are attached to shrines. An artificial grove was created for the shrine.  Plant scientists took potential natural vegetation into consideration for everlasting grove.  They decided to plant evergreen broadleaf trees such as chinquapin trees, oak trees so that the grove of the shrine would become close to the wild condition in 100 years.

Although the prime minister at that time insisted on planting Japanese cedars like the avenue of cedars at Nikko Toshogu, they convinced him that the cedars didn't thrive around the shrine.
The grove has thriven naturally in the shrine's climate.
About 100,000 trees of 365 different kinds were planted, and 170,000 trees of 246 different kinds are firmly rooted in the grove now.

Recently, an old well called Kiyomasa no Ido(清正井) on the site of the shrine is famous as an energy spot or a sacred place. However, we are not allowed to get some water from the well. People only use its image as their cellular phone wallpaper.

Narita-san Shinsho-ji has a profound connection with the Ichikawa family in kabuki.

Refer to Fushimi Inari Taisha for information about hatsu-uma.

Tree Peonies are now at their peak at a garden in Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu. It requires an entrance fee.

Dazaifu Tenman-gu was built in 919 to honor Sugawara Michizane.
Refer to Michizane for information about Ume-Matsuri and Why did Sugawara Michizane become a god?

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