A shrine that has accompanied Hokkaido’s long history
Hokkaido Shrine had its origins from 1869 when Emperor Meiji ordered the enshrining of three deities for the reclamation of Hokkaido. At the time, the land that had been known as Ezo became the prefecture of Hokkaido, and from the very beginning of it becoming Japanese territory, the citizens of the prefecture have embraced the shrine. On its 180,000 square-meter grounds filled with history, there are many cherry trees planted there, and with the coming of spring, the intensely beautiful scene of cherry blossoms in full bloom can be enjoyed.
The Sapporo Festival bringing in the summer
The Sapporo Festival consists of a small evening festival on June 14th, the main festival of the 15th and then the mikoshi procession on the 16th for a total of 3 days. The sounds of flutes and drums echo throughout the streets of Sapporo as a festival which is beloved as one of the coming signs of summer heralds the coming of the season. Approximately 1200 people in period garb walk through the streets to provide an overwhelming sight that resembles the unfurling of a Heian picture scroll. Except for two cancellations during the war years, this regular festival of Hokkaido Shrine has been continuing ceaselessly since 1872 as a profound custom.
Hokkaido Shrine Tonguu
The former incarnation of Hokkaido Shrine, Sapporo Shrine, was located in the region of Maruyama. However, due to the snows of the harsh Hokkaido winter, the path leading up to the shrine was often blocked. For that reason, a makeshift shrine known as Tonguu was established. It is known for its stone guardian dogs which are said to bring good fortune in love and safety for children.
A place of rest for festivals and events
Within the grounds of Hokkaido Shrine, many festivals and events are held. In the summer, there is an early summer festival, a flea market in which bargains can be had, a fair, live events and cosplay events. Also, there is a shrine market where candies, coffee and miscellaneous items are sold. The shrine is not only a place for hatsumode (first prayer of the New Year) and cherry blossoms viewing but also a place of relaxation for people.