Translated by Sandy Lau
Tanzan Shrine, Nara: The World’s Only Thirteen-Storied Wooden Pagoda
Written by Yumiko Delor
Tanzan Shrine in Sakurai, Nara is renowned for cherry blossoms in spring and leaves in autumn. The shrine also has a deep connection to Japan’s history. Would you like to feel the eternal nature of time at traditional Tanzan Shrine?
What Is Tanzan Shrine?
Long ago, when present-day Nara was the center of the government, a political reform called the Taika Reform occurred on this land. Kamatari Fujiwara, the leader of the Taika Reform, is worshiped at Tanzan Shrine as the gosaijin (*1).
The shrine grounds are filled with several shaden (*2) painted in scarlet colors. Among them is the Thirteen-Storied Pagoda, which is known as the symbol of Tanzan Shrine. Let’s stroll the grounds, decorated with cherry blossoms in the spring or vivid leaves in the autumn, while climbing the 140 steps that lead us to the main shrine.
In this article, we’ll introduce the highlights of Tanzan Shrine.
*1 Gosaijin: the god that is enshrined at a shrine.
*2 Shaden: a building in a shrine.
Along the way up the 140 step staircase, there are signs with the words “Love Shrine” written on them. Once you find these signs, let’s continue forward in that direction. Tanzan Shrine has been worshiped for matchmaking since ancient times thanks to the so called Love Shrine in the east hall past the signs.
The union dwelling stone, said to be where the god dwells, is enshrined at Love Shrine. Definitely please try rubbing the stone with all your heart to improve your luck in love.