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    I love ramen. Not the instant stuff served in Styrofoam cups, but the fresh noodles served in a bowl of rich soup stock topped with…

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Hikawa-jinja Shrine 大宮氷川神社

Hikawa Shrine
Hikawa Shrine

An ancient facility and namesake of the town

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 sight today.

How to Get There

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.

History

Hikawa-jinja Shrine has roots as far back as the 5th century B.C. The full name is Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa-jinja 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.

Away from the urban environment

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.

Other elements in the park

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.

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