Translated by Jelena Kitamura
Mount Fuji In Tokyo? Take On The Fujizuka Of Shinagawa Shrine!
Written by Mitsuhisa Kanoo
Behold the Fujizuka of Shinagawa Shrine in Tokyo. It is said that whoever conquers the top of this Fujizuka, will be granted good fortune as if it was the real Mount Fuji. So why not challenge yourself there first?
Shinagawa Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Shinagawa, Tokyo. It is a building of long tradition and history that has been preserved since 1187. However, its most interesting feature lies within its grounds, a fifteen-meter tall mound – the Fujizuka. Just like the name suggests, a Fujizuka is an artificial representation of famous Mount Fuji. Ever since the olden days, it was believed that climbing Mt. Fuji would bring good luck and blessings from the gods and Buddha. But alas, it takes not only great willpower, but enormous effort and preservation as well to climb the great mountain, and thus the first Fujizuka was created.
The common belief is that person who climbs a Fujizuka will be granted the same amount of good luck and happiness as the person who climbs its original, Mount Fuji. Why not then take on the challenge of climbing Fuji, but the closer one – the one at Shinagawa Shrine?
The nearest station to Shinagawa Shrine is Shimbamba Station of Keikyu Railway Main Line. It takes about thirty minutes by train from Haneda Airport to this shrine. Should you leave from Tokyo Station, it will take up to twenty minutes, including the time required to change trains at Shinagawa Station. After you arrive at the station, walk for about five minutes and the red torii of Shinagawa Shrine will appear in front of you.
Captivating Soryu Torii
Before entering the shrine, the first thing to catch your attention is the image of Soryu Torii (soryu: a pair of dragons). On the right side, the Ascending Dragon (nobori-ryu) rises, carved into the pillar, while on the left side is its counterpart, the Descending Dragon (ori-ryu). Although there are many Shinto shrines in Japan, there are hardly any with dragons carved into their torii. And don’t forget to check the back side of the gates as well – you can see the powerful carving enveloping the pillars on both sides.
After you’ve passed through the torii, climb the stone stairs and head towards the shrine’s building.
Let the Climb Finally Begin!
Overflowing with trees, Shinagawa Shrine paints a picture of unity with nature. And as you climb the stairs and reach the middle point, on your left side you will see another torii – that is the entrance to the Mound Fuji, the Fujizuka. All of a sudden, a large stone mound will pop out in front of your eyes, a sight much different from the path leading to the shrine, which is surrounded by nature. And since it brings such unique air to this scenery, it might seem as if you’re about to enter a whole new dimension.
Your road to the top of the Fujizuka starts as you pass through the torii. You still have to climb all those stone stairs, but you can take your time, as the stairs are nice and wide for a pleasant walk. And since you are going sideways to the top of the stone mound, it might make you feel as if you’re on an exciting adventure. Now, what awaits you on the other side of this mysterious path?
When you reach the midpoint of this road the real challenge starts! You will have to continue your adventure following a narrower path, one that you’re likely to encounter on a mountain, towards the top. The chains put across the mound do create a real mountain-like ambience. But don’t let your progress be hampered, just watch your step and head for that peak!
If you take a look down the climbing path, the steep slope beneath your feet might surprise you. The amazing sensation will shimmer through your body once again – although we doubt you lost it anyways. It might even get a little scary to those who are not used to such exciting expeditions. But don’t let it get to you – you’re just a step away from the top! Just look straight ahead and beware of every little step you take and do your best to conquer that mountain.
At Last at the Top! Sengen Shrine Awaits You
You have finally climbed that steep mound and reached the top of the Fujizuka! Take a look down the path, and the townscape of Shinagawa will spread wide and far. That red line cutting through the terrain is Keihin Kyuko Railroad’s train. You can see now what a tall place you’ve climbed up. With a splendid view and a pleasant breeze, it is a perfect place to rest and appreciate the magnificent sight.
On the other side of the mountain lies another climbing path. Take that one on your way back, head on right, and the next thing to appear will be Sengen Shrine. Sengen Shrine celebrates Mount Fuji as its deity, so take the time to pay respect to Fuji-san after climbing Fujizuka.
So, how was your adventure? It took you perhaps about two minutes to climb this Fujizuka. It is quite a short road, but we assure you – it takes courage and skill to avoid all those trees while moving up that steep hill. It was more dramatic that you’ve expected, wasn’t it? And the most valuable sensation you ought to feel is that tingling sense of accomplishment when you climb to the top and look down on the land you’ve conquered.
So, why not choose a little excitement at Shinagawa Shrine, and take on the Fujizuka?
Address: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Kitashinagawa 3-7-15
Nearest Station: Shimbamba Station, Keikyu Railway Main Line
Access: 5-minute walk from Shimbamba Station