Omiya is Japanese for "great shrine." The town of Omiya gets this name for Hikawa-jinja Shrine, a Shinto shrine that plays a major part in the history of the Kanto region. The large shrine complex, favored by Emperor Meiji, is still a fantastic visage today.
Hikawa-jinja Shrine is easily accessible by public transit.
From Shinjuku, take the Saikyo Line to Omiya, about 30 minutes away. From Omiya, you can take a short taxi ride or walk 20 minutes to the shrine.
Hikawa-jinja Shrine has roots as far back as the fifth century BC. The full name is Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine, and it was once the main shrine for the area. In ancient times, the province of Musashi consisted of what is today Tokyo, and most of Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures. The shrine was particularly favored by the Meiji emperor, who declared it the guardian shrine of the nation, by imperial decree.
The shrine is quite impressive. Although within walking distance from Omiya Station, it is removed from the urban environment by a peaceful tree-lined path, which leads to its three brilliant vermillion gates. The complex includes several shrines, other buildings and facilities, and a large pond.
The shrine is in a large park that has a museum, a zoo, a garden, a bamboo forest, and many cherry blossom trees. The grounds are known for their ancient Japanese elms. The shrine is usually quiet but becomes lively with visitors during important holiday seasons like New Year and Golden Week.