Kanda-jinja Shrine 神田明神
A revered shrine with unusual modern appeal
Kanda-jinja is a shrine in Tokyo with a long and complex history. It has been influential since it was built nearly 1,300 years ago, held great prominence during the Edo period, and oddly enough is now a destination for anime fans.
Two of the shrine's deities are members of the Shichifukujin or Seven Lucky Gods
Taira-no-Masakado, who rebelled against the government, is a deity here
Nozomi Tojo from the popular anime Love Live! is Kanda Jinja's official mascot
How to Get There
The shrine is a seven-minute walk from Akihabara Station. It is actually closer to JR Ochanomizu Station, or Suehirocho Station on the Ginza Line. Kanda Myojin is around a five-minute walk from either station.
Entrepreneurs and rebels
Originally built in 730 A.D., Kanda Myojin houses many deities. Two of them, Daikokuten and Ebisu, are counted among the Shichifukujin or Seven Lucky Gods of good fortune. Because of this, many businesspeople visit this shrine to pray for prosperity.
Taira-no-Masakado, who started an uprising against the government of this region, was enshrined here after his death in the year 940, and later became a deity. He was removed from the shrine at one point, but his popularity among locals was so great that he was defiantly restored to Kanda Myojin after World War II.
Odd and raucous festivals
The Kanda Matsuri festival was started in 1600 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo period, to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Sekigahara that sealed his power. It's one of the three major Shinto festivals in Tokyo, the others being the Sanno Matsuri at Hie-jinja Shrine and the Fukagawa Matsuri at Tomioka Hachiman Jinja.
Pop culture and Akihabara
Kanda Myojin is now more popular than ever, drawing fans of anime and hobbyists from nearby Akihabara. The appearance of Kanda Myojin in the popular anime Love Live!, where the character Nozomi Tojo served as a shrine maiden, was so popular that she is now the shrine's official mascot.
If you look carefully at the ema good luck charms hanging in the shrine, you'll find many with manga illustrations. Old and new live harmoniously here, a sign that the shrine indeed breathes fortune upon the rebels in society.