How to Fully Enjoy Atsuta Jingu, One of the Three Major Shrines in Japan
Atsuta Jingu, located in the southern part of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, is one of the three major shrines in Japan. The shrine is very traditional and especially noted for housing “the Sword of Kusanagi,” one of the Three Sacred Treasures succeeded in the Emperor Family. We are here giving you some tips to fully enjoy touring around the shrine site.
From Nagoya Station, take the Nagoya City Subway train on the Higashiyama Line bound for “Fujigaoka” and switch to the Meijo Line (“Hidari Mawari” or Left Bound) at Sakae Station. Beware not to take a train bound for Nagoya Port (Nagoya Ko) because it would take you into a totally wrong direction. Once you take the Meijjo Line (Hidari Mawari / Left Bound) train, then you just get off at “Jingu Nishi Station” to get to the shrine.
Coming out of exit no.2 of Jingu Nishi Station, you will see a forest on your left. That’s the place we are heading to, Atsuta Jingu Shrine. As you approach the shrine going southward along the street, you will find a small shrine on your left. It is Shimochikama Shrine, one of the many shrines scattered on the site of Atsuta Jingu. This one is particularly dedicated to the god of safe journey. Why not stop by here and pray for safety for the rest of your journey?
<Manners of Shinto Style Prayer>
First, toss some money into the donation box installed in front of the shrine hall. Most people choose 5 Yen coin for donation because 5 Yen reads “go-en” in Japanese and it also means “good luck.” After making a donation, you take two bows to the shrine hall. Then you clap your hands twice and make a prayer with the palms of your hands placed together in a prayer position. After the prayer, take another bow before leaving.
As you walk straight along the street, you will see a large shrine gate or “torii” on your left. It is the west gate (Nishimon) of Atsuta Jingu Shrine. If you go through the gate into the shrine site, you will soon come across a small shrine dedicated to the god of study on your left.
After you keep walking on the path under the woods, turn left at the crossroad in front of Homotsuden Hall.
On the way, there will be a pavilion with a water basin on your left where you can wash your hands for purification. Use the ladle seen in the photo to scoop some water first. Wash each of your hands in turn from left to right, and then lightly rinse your mouth with water from your hands. Wash the grip of the ladle before placing it back.
Keep on going until you come to the main shrine hall. You can follow the same procedure as mentioned above to make a prayer here. That is, donate some money into the box, bow twice, clap twice, make a prayer and take another bow at the end.
Looking back away from the main hall, there is an office on your left where you can have a good luck charm issued. Behind it is Kaguraden Hall where Shinto priests make prayers.
The wall surrounding the main hall is called “Nobunaga Bei (wall).” It is the strong wall built by Nobunaga Oda, the famous feudal warlord, when he celebrated the victory in one of his battles. It is amazing that such an old witness of history still remains here to date.
Go back the way you came towards Homotsuden Hall.
Homotsuden (treasury hall) is the place exhibiting various treasures possessed by the shrine. An admission fee applies but it is well worth it. Among the collection here is a large sword which is as long as a child’s height. Additionally, there are other beautiful swords and numerous historic treasures are exhibited here. A visit here will never be disappointing.
4 Actually Existing Japanese Swords with Interesting Stories
Coming out of Homotsuden, take a left and proceed with the main hall to your back.
Then you will come across a vermillion red shrine, the color of which is exceptional among other shrines structures of Atsuta Jingu. It is Minamishingu Shrine, dedicated to the god named “Susanoo No Mikoto.”
Once you get back on track and further proceed with the main hall on your back, you will come out to the front gate of Atsuta Jingu. You will find yet another shrine on your right here.
It is Kamichikama Shrine, dedicated to the god of business and family. Your luck in business may increase if you pray to the god here.
Located on the right hand side next to the shrine is another shrine establishment called “Betsugu Hakkengu.” The establishment was founded by an ancient emperor as a place to keep his sacred sword. For such a historical background, the establishment is of very high importance only second to that of the main hall. Don’t forget to make a prayer here as well.
While we have already covered pretty much all the major spots within the shrine site of Atsuta Jingu, there is another spot I personally recommend to you. It’s a noodle shop located on the shrine site.
This is a noodle shop called “Miya Kishimen,” located across the shrine approach from Homotsuden. Here you can enjoy kishimen, a specialty wheat flour noodle cuisine of Nagoya. Kishimen typically features flat noodles served with nice and salty soy sauce based sauce poured over it. The kishimen noodles you can enjoy here at this shop boasts very chewy texture and its exquisite taste is so popular that there are always many customers waiting in a queue in front of the shop. Make sure to give it a try!
If you are looking to buy some souvenirs here, the cafe located behind the noodle shop will be a place to check out. One of the top recommendation souvenir items here is the sweet called “Kiyome Mochi (rice cake).”
Atsuta Jingu is a traditional and historic place located amidst the industrial milieu of Nagoya City. It definitely makes one of the great tourist destinations you should consider including in your itinerary. Information: Map