Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Mitsumine Shrine And The Misotsuchi Icicles - Feel Their Mystical Power!
Written by MATCHA-PR
Mitsumine Shrine, located in the Chichibu area, three hours away from Tokyo, is known for its mystical powers. Read on to learn about its appeals, including the stunningly beautiful Misotsuchi Icicles.
After visiting Mitsumine Shrine, located in Chichibu, Saitama prefecture, most people say that their work suddenly started going well, or that they became lucky with money. The shrine is known as one of the prominent power spots in the Tokyo suburbs, which consists of six prefectures in the Kanto Region.
Mitsumine Shrine is said to bless its visitors with good fortune in jobs, money and romance. It is also famous for the Misotsuchi Icicles, which appear nearby in wintertime.
This article introduces a one day trip to visit both Mitsumine Shrine and the Misotsuchi Icicles.
From Tokyo - A One Day Trip to Mitsumine Shrine and Misotsuchi Icicles
7:30 -- Ikebukuro Station - Taking the Red Arrow Limited Express
From Ikebukuro Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, take the Red Arrow Limited Express, and head for Seibu-Chichibu Station. The 7:30 train arrives at Seibu-Chichibu Station at 8:13.
If you plan to tour the Chichibu area, purchase the 1Day Pass (*1), which allows the user to ride all the Seibu trains for 1000 yen. For further information, check the official site of Seibu Railway.
*1... Seibu 1Day Pass users must purchase an additional express ticket for the Red Arrow.
9:10 -- Seibu-Chichibu Station - A Bus Ride to Mitsumine Shrine
From Seibu-Chichibu Station, board the express bus for Mitsumine Shrine. The ride takes about an hour and a half. There are five buses per day, starting at 9:10, and the next bus leaves at 10:05. Visitors can enjoy a great view of the Arakawa valley and the huge dams along the way.
10:45 -- The Mitsu Torii at Mitsumine Shrine
The 9:10 bus arrives at Mitsumine Shrine on 10:45. The shrine is located in the mountains at the altitude of 1100 meters above sea level, and a powerful atmosphere can be felt from the surrounding forests.
Mitsu Torii welcomes the visitors at the entrance. This is a rare sight, as two small torii gates are placed on both sides of the main torii.
A statue which looks like a komainu (sacred guardian dog in the Shinto tradition) stands alongside the approach.
This is actually a statue of a wolf. In the Edo Period (1603 - 1868), residents near Mitsumine Shrine worshiped the wolf as a messenger of deities, as they protected the crops from wild boars. A closer look will reveal its strong features.
A Visit to Mitsumine Shrine and its Power Spots
It is a ten minute walk along the approach to the haiden (outer shrine) of Mitsumine Shrine, which has a history of 1900 years. The haiden should be the first place to visit at this shrine.
To learn about appropriate manners when visiting a shrine, please read this MATCHA article: How To Visit A Japanese Shrine.
The gorgeous, vibrantly colored decorations are said to have profound meanings related to Shinto.
Take a good look at the photograph above. Can you see a dragon on the stone pavement?
In 2012, this dragon suddenly appeared on the pavement in front of the honden (main shrine), and the image becomes clearer when the stone is wet. It is said that the seeing this dragon brings good luck, so don't miss it. A bucket full of water is located nearby.
There are two, 800 year-old, sacred trees on both sides of the haiden. Touch these trees after the visit. You might feel strange powers flowing into your body.
Take a walk on the mountain path from the haiden for about five minutes, and a small shrine, with a large, ema-shaped sign with a drawing of a heart, will appear. There are two sacred trees behind this shrine, standing side by side like lovers, so this is regarded as a romantic power spot.
It is said that if you write the name of someone special on a piece of paper, make it into a koyori (*2) and leave it as an offering at this shrine, your wishes will come to fruition.
*2 Koyori: A string of twisted paper.
Visitors can also enjoy the view of the Chichibu mountains from the yohaiden (a shrine to address prayers to the deities).
The Charm of Ki: Owned by an Olympic Silver Medalist
Those who wish to feel the mystic powers at all times should purchase a charm of "ki". A small piece of the sacred tree, emitting the powers of Mitsumine Shrine, is stored inside the charm. It is priced at 1000 yen.
The charms usually come in colors of red, black, green and pink. There is also a special white charm, which is only available on the first day of the month.
The white charm is said to be especially powerful, and became famous when it was known that female figure skater Asada Mao, the Silver Medalist of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, owned it.
12:30 -- Lunch at Waraji Katsudon at Ohshimaya
For lunch, try a Chichibu dish. Ohshimaya, located right near the shrine, is especially popular to the tourists.
Ohshimaya is known for various Chichibu specialty dishes made using local products, such as the kurumi soba (soba with crushed walnuts). The waraji katsudon (a bowl of rice topped with a breaded fried pork cutlet), priced at 1000 yen including tax, comes highly recommended. The voluminous cutlet, dipped in a sweet and sour sauce, is sure to satisfy any appetite.
There is a zashiki (tatami room) in the spacious restaurant, so you will be able to relax with your family or friends.
14:55 -- Misotsuchi Icicles - A Magnificent Show of Snow and Ice
Board the 14:30 bus from Mitsumine Shrine, and after a 25 minute ride, the Misotsuchi Icicles will come into view. The tall icicles, created by the cold winter temperatures, are a natural work of art.
There are many places to enjoy man-made icicles in Japan. But some of the Misotsuchi Icicles are completely a work of nature.
The maximum width of the icicles reach thirty meters, and they are eight meters in height. This is truly a sight to behold, created by Mother Nature.
Local dishes and special products of Chichibu are sold at the Wood Roof Okuchichibu Auto Camp Ground, located near the icicles. It might be fun to take a look while waiting for the bus back to the station.
16:45 -- Seibu-Chichibu Station - Matsuri no Yu
Photograph provided by Seibu Railway.
Board the 15:55 bus from Misotsuchi Icicles, and you will arrive at Seibu-Chichibu Station around 16:45. Please note that the last bus from Misotsuchi Icicles leaves at 16:55.
At Matsuri no Yu, a commercial facility connected to Seibu-Chichibu Station, you can bathe in the hot springs, or buy some souvenirs. Warming your body before boarding the train back home will make a fun memory of the trip.
Using a Rental Car or Staying Overnight
Enjoy the Illuminated Icicles by Using a Rental Car
The Misotsuchi Icicles will be illuminated from 17:00. The last bus leaves at 16:55, so if you plan to enjoy the illumination, it would be better to use a rental car or taxi.
For further information about rental cars, please read the MATCHA article All You Need To Know About Renting A Car In Japan.
This is the winter season, so watch out for ice on the road. If you're not used to driving in these conditions, using a taxi would be much safer.
Mitsumine Shrine Guesthouse - Watch the Sea of Clouds
Kounkaku is a guesthouse inside Mitsumine Shrine, where visitors can spend the night. It is perfect for those who want to fully enjoy the Chichibu area.
Photograph provided by Mitsumine Shrine
From the yohaiden of Mitsumine Shrine, a sea of clouds can be viewed sometimes early in the morning, so those staying at Kounkaku should try to see it.
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** Please note that the bus schedule in the article is as of 2017. Be sure to also check this timetable (Japanese link).
Sponsored by Saitama Prefecture