With the current restrictions in place with the CNRJ Public Health Order, we’re limited in the places and distances that we can go. However, our prefecture is clear and open. We’ve been here six years and while I’ve been to many places outside of Kanagawa prefecture it has taken this current crisis to make me realize that there are a lot of places in my own backyard that we haven’t visited.
I have tons of travel groups that I follow and Google lists that I save and update frequently. On that list is Hakone Jinja shrine. One of the most visited shrines in Japan “the Japanese Shinto shrine is located on the shores of Lake Ashi in the town of Hakone.”
Our luck held out and it was a beautiful day to visit this iconic location. The only downside was the HORRIBLE traffic on the route to the shrine. What should’ve been a 1:50 minute drive was extended to almost 3 hours, with the last 5-10 miles taking almost an hour. There is the option of taking a train and bus to the down and the site, and it’s scheduled to take three hours. Depending on your love of driving and options, it wouldn’t be a bad option.
The main shrine is located at the top of a large set of stairs so be sure to wear your walking shoes. I have NO idea how so many Japanese women were walking around in heels. Between the uneven stones, the stairs and carrying the baby, I was NOT on solid ground! The line to get in to make a wish was long, but moved fast. If your Japanese is good enough you can set up appointments to go inside and attend prayer.
In addition to being able to make wishes, inside the plaza of the temple guests can purchase charms for protection and safety of things such as: travel, children’s travel, health, etc. You can also purchase plaques to hang for wish or leave offerings. There are bottles of water you can purchase at the main building that are from the mountain, or you can bring your own cup and drink from the fountain as we saw many locals and visitors doing, I was not that brave!
The Torii gate located in Lake Ashi is iconic and was the main purpose of the trip and the one thing that I wanted to make sure we had accomplished. All the people in the swan boats were determined to ruin photos, not only ours but others as well.
We will have to go back to do all the things that we missed on this trip: the second shrine at the top of the Hakone Komagatake ropeway (which was closed at the time of our visit), the black eggs, a few of the awesome restaurants we saw in town, the pirate ship (definitely going back for this!!). However, next time I think we’ll also take advantage of all the many private onsens and resorts in the area
Have you been to this shrine? Or others what was your favorite? Do you have the shrine stamp book? I got my first one today. Looking forward to getting more!