A shrine to the sacred mountain
Nestled in the beautiful town of Nikko, japan, Futarasan-jinja Shrine stands as a testament to the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the area. Established in the 8th century, this shrine is dedicated to one of Nikko’s mountain gods, Mt. Nantai. While not as grand and ornate as its neighboring shrines, Toshogu Shrine and Rinnoji Temple, Futarasan-jinja Shrine holds a special significance as it is built in reverence to the majestic mountain that looms behind it.
The history of Futarasan-jinja Shrine dates back to 782 when it was founded by Shodo Shonin, a Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Nikko. Shonin also founded the nearby Rinnoji Temple and the sacred red Shinkyo Bridge. The shrine is closely associated with Shonin and his teachings, making it an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and nature enthusiasts alike.
One of the notable features of Futarasan-jinja Shrine is its collection of national treasures. The shrine proudly houses two swords that are considered national treasures of Japan. These swords symbolize the historical and cultural significance of the shrine and add to its allure.
Getting to Futarasan-jinja Shrine is relatively easy. Visitors can choose to explore the area on foot, taking a leisurely 45-minute walk from Nikko Station along forest-lined roads. Alternatively, they can take a bus from Nikko Station or Tobu Nikko Station. The World Heritage tour bus stops at the UNESCO Heritage sites, including Futarasan-jinja Shrine, and takes around 15 minutes to reach the shrine. The journey itself is a scenic one, allowing visitors to soak in the natural beauty of Nikko.
Upon arriving at Futarasan-jinja Shrine, visitors are greeted by a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The shrine complex is free to enter and explore, with the exception of a garden that houses trees sacred to the shrine. The main shrine area is accessed through a majestic gate, which sets the tone for the spiritual experience that awaits within.
Futarasan-jinja Shrine is actually part of a trio of shrines in Nikko. The other two shrines, known as the middle shrine and top shrine, are located on the north shore of Lake Chuzenji and at the peak of Mt. Nantai respectively. While the main/lower shrine is the most popular and easily accessible, the other two shrines offer a more secluded and immersive experience for those willing to venture further.
The natural surroundings of Futarasan-jinja Shrine add to its mystique and charm. The towering cedar trees that line the path leading to the shrine complex create an enchanting atmosphere, especially during the cherry blossom season when the area is transformed into a picturesque wonderland. The lush greenery and tranquil ambiance make Futarasan-jinja Shrine a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Visiting Futarasan-jinja Shrine is not just an opportunity to admire its architectural beauty and natural surroundings; it is also a chance to connect with the spiritual essence of Nikko. The shrine serves as a gateway to the sacred mountain, inviting visitors to contemplate their place in the universe and find solace in the presence of the divine.
In conclusion, Futarasan-jinja Shrine in Nikko, Japan, is a place of profound spiritual significance. Established in the 8th century, this shrine dedicated to Mt. Nantai offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors. With its rich history, collection of national treasures, and stunning natural surroundings, Futarasan-jinja Shrine stands as a testament to the enduring cultural heritage of Nikko. Whether you are a pilgrim seeking spiritual enlightenment or a nature lover looking for a serene retreat, Futarasan-jinja Shrine is a must-visit destination that will leave a lasting impression.
Address And Maps Location:
2307 Sannai, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken