Suga Jinja

Plaque and shrine building of Suga Shrine
Shot at Suga Shrine in Yotsuya, Tokyo ©Tetsu Ozawa
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The shrine building of Suga Shrine could be seen beyond the Torii with a plaque

Suga Shrine stands on a slightly elevated hill as you walk from Samegahashi, once known as one of the three poorest slums of Tokyo. It is the main Shinto shrine of the eighteen towns in Yotsuya, dedicated to Susano-no-Mikoto and Ukanomitama-no-kami. Originally, the shrine was located in Shimizutani in Akasaka (there is still a park called Shimizutani Park, but the address is not in Akasaka), and was moved to its current location in 1634.

As I stood on the approach to the shrine, I could see the shrine's main building over the torii gate with its magnificent plaque. The shrine seemed to be quite popular, and there were people lined up in front of the hall waiting for their turn to pay their respects. The shrine was also mentioned in the hit anime movie, "Your Name".

I didn't know this, but the name "Suga Shrine" is a common name for shrines of the Gion faith, and apparently, they exist all over Japan. Indeed, in Tokyo alone, besides the Suga Shrine here in Yotsuya, there are other shrines with the same name in Asakusabashi, Taito-ku and Narita Higashi, Suginami-ku.

What I like about Suga Shrine is the origin of its name. The name comes from a myth that Susano-no-Mikoto, after defeating the eight-forked serpent and taking Kushinada-hime as his wife, came to Suga in Izumo Province (present-day Suga, Daito-cho, Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture) while looking for a place to live, and "felt refreshed (in Japanese, suga suga si) and named the place Suga. It's refreshing to know that there has been a dad joke-like word combination since the time of the Kojiki, but it's also wonderful to know that such a joke-like word combination has been handed down for more than 1,000 years.

日本語
Aug 2021 ARCHITECTURE TOKYO

Where is Suga Shrine in Yotsuya?

PHOTO DATA

No

11991

Shooting Date

Jan 2021

Posted On

August 7, 2021

Modified On

August 8, 2021

Place

Yotsuya, Tokyo

Genre

Architectural Photography

Camera

SONY ALPHA 7R II

Lens

ZEISS BATIS 2/40 CF

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