The Mysterious Red Tent Within The Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine
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The Mysterious Red Tent Within The Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine

Tokyo 2016.08.29

Find out the history and what lies inside of the mysterious Red Tent that appears year after year within the grounds of Shinjuku's Hanazono Shrine!

Translated byJasmine Nishino

A freelance nomad (lost) translator and nerd at heart.

Written by Marina Wada

As you walk down the busy streets of Shinjuku toward the Shinjuku Sanchome station on the Tokyo Metro, you will spot a shrine among the tall buildings.

It is the Hanazono Shrine. Within the shrine grounds, you will see a mysterious red tent that appears to be rather out of place.

So, what is this tent anyway?

The Truth Within The Red Tent

The Red Tent is a temporary stage set for the performances done by Karakumi, a theatrical company run by one of Japan's leading playwrights, Kara Juro. Twice a year, the Karakumi sets up this tent within the grounds of Shinjuku's Hanazono Shrine to present a unique performance. Shinjuku, Hanazono shrine, and Karakumi have a long history of working together since Karakumi's first performance in 1967.

The title of this day's performance was "The Mother of Momotaro". The story featured a woman by the name of Mariko who got lost in Tainan city and involved detectives and female prosecutors. It is difficult to explain in a sentence, but it is a very avant-garde and almost otherworldly work.

The atmosphere of the Red Tent was very unique and a great place to experience a different type of Japanese underground culture aside from the "otaku" and the "kawaii".

Hanazono Shrine's Connection With Public Entertainment

Shinjuku's Hanazono Shrine is known to be a spot that has strong connections with public entertainment. After going through the large torii gate, you will find the Geino Asama Jinja, a shrine that worships the god of public entertainment and media. At the beginning of the year, you will see many Japanese celebrities in theater and music pay a visit to this shrine.

Hanazono Shrine's history with public entertainment dates back to the Edo period when there was a massive fire, destroying the shrine and during the time of reconstruction, a stage was built and people began to perform shows and dances.

Aside from the temporary red tent or the Geino Asama shrine, there are plenty of other "red" themed things around the shrine. The Itoku Inari shrine is also a popular spot for those looking for luck in love.

It a very tiny shrine, but the experience of going through the tunnel of red is out of this world. It makes you forget you are in the heart of a busy metropolis.

Of course, don't forget to pay a visit to the Hanazono Shrine itself. The "red" here also leaves a deep impression.

After the sunset, you will be able to see a fantasy-like atmosphere that is different from the one from the day.

Hanazono Shrine holds many local events such as antique markets and theatrics by various companies. Why not experience a slightly out-of-the-ordinary Shinjuku and witness a different side of Japan?

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Information

Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine

Address: Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shinjuku 5-17-3
Closed: Open all year
Wi-Fi: Not available
Credit cards accepted: Not available
Other Languages: Unknown
Pamphlets in Other Languages: Not available
Nearest station: Shinjuku-Sanchome Station (新宿三丁目駅) on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line, Fukutoshin line, Toei Shinjuku line
Access: Right outside of exit E2 of Shinjuku-Sanchome Station
Price Range: Free
Phone Number: +81-03-3209-5265
Website: Hanazono Shrine (Japanese)

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