Sawara once more – Why tourism is at times a wonderful thing

Today we made a trip back to Sawara, to explore some stairs and a temple we saw the other day, but had no time to visit

(On the way there I spotted a ‘junk store’, you know one of those where they sell all sorts of things, new, old, second-hand, antiques and junk. Finally found 10 Japanese lacquer soup bowls, those with lids, that I like. Bingo for me!)

Last time we saw these stairs and the lantern avenue to it suggested a shrine, which according to our map from the tourist office is the Suwa-Jinja Shrine. This is all I have been able to find out about the shrine, its name.
It has something mysterious walking up the stairs and wonder what is at the top. There are 2 flights of stairs, first you come to your usual Chōzuya, this one looked the worse for neglect, cordoned off with black/yellow striped tape, no water scoops and no flowing water, just a murky green ‘jelly’. The view on the other side of the stairs was just as sad. A few neglected shrines, rotting away.

This one did somehow look pretty in its neglect.

Walking up the second flight of stairs you come across this

All of Inari’s foxes looking rather neglected

The main shrine building looks rather well maintained, inside and outside

It’s somehow unusual as this one has a walled area at the back of it, something I have not seen anywhere else yet.

The wood carvings and really beautiful, although I would love to attack them with some orange oil to bring out the colour of the wood

On one side of the main building was a smaller one which seemed to contain a portable shrine in amazing conditions compared to everything else.


On the other side it had this huge tree, I love it, wish I had something like it in my garden.
Even though on closer inspection it hid this poor neglected mini shrine
I confess I was very tempted to open the door and see what was inside, but I behaved and did not.

Then you walk on and neglect is everywhere to be seen, paths are unkept
More neglected Chōzubachi

Broken statues.

Abandoned shrines

Empty offering dishes

Roofs falling apart

Torii losing battle with the weather gods

On our way out, we saw this, I tidied it up a little and put the ornaments back, a feeble attempt at fixing things a little.

Although I often wish there where less tourists (I can remember getting into the Duomo in Florence without having to battle massive queues of tourists), at times tourism is a wonderful thing as it means a shrine like this, would be given funds to be maintained.

It saddens me to see it as it is



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Joan
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 09:29:55

    Hi, Ren, love your photos, I have been away We have big trees like that one in our park, sort of fig tree I think. Kids play hide and seek in it…I think I have a photo of BF climbing it. Stay safe. Joan


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