Kanda Jinja is a shrine in Tokyo with a long and complex history. It has been influential since it was built nearly 1300 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
Kanda Myojin (the popular name for the shrine) is located in the Akihabara area. Akihabara, famous now for its popular culture, is located between Ueno and Tokyo stations on the JR Yamanote Line.
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.
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.
The Kanda Matsuri 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 Festival at Hie-jinja Shrine and the Fukagawa Festival at Tomioka Hachiman Jinja.
What is unusual about Kanda Matsuri is that it is celebrated around May 15 only in odd-numbered years. The Sanno Matsuri, on the other hand, is held only on even-numbered years.
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.