Furumine Shrine

The “birthplace” of Nikko. The shrine of “tengu” quietly standing far up in the mountains.

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The shrine was established by the monk, Shodo Shonin, who first developed the Nikko area. It is a training ground for all monks in Nikko. In the grand “shaden” (main building), over 200 masks of “tengu” (long nosed goblin) are on display, and the Japanese garden and accommodations are also popular.
Furumine Shrine, 3027 Kusagyu Kanuma-shi, Tochigi
(0289) 74-2111

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An inn of tengu with over 200 tengu masks in the shaden

Next to Nikko, the huge 500ha Furumine Shrine in Furuminegahara of Kanuma City is dedicated to the hero of Japanese mythology Yamatotakeru whose messengers in the form of long-nosed goblins known as tengu have been greatly worshiped. The tengu possess strange powers and are worshiped on the same level as gods. In the large room of the front shrine (haiden), there are 2 tengu masks with a length of 1.5m. Created from hollowing out a giant tree, they were offered over 400 years ago, and have a fierce enough countenance so that children are afraid to approach them. There are over 200 tengu masks in the shaden to make the place seem like an inn for tengu. Also, the letter bearing the vermilion seal of the shogun at the same shrine is wonderful. It is a unique letter whose tengu drawing was actually created by Shinto priests, and on an average day, up to 200 people come and visit. With more than 10 kinds of dynamic letters on the two facing pages, these are especially popular with the enthusiasts.

Spend a quiet time at the garden and the guesthouse

There are also accommodations at the shrine. Since there is a guesthouse at the shrine, the food is not vegetarian and even alcohol can be imbibed. There are a variety of rooms ranging from a large space to private rooms, and there is a cleanliness that spreads to every corner. Within the solemn atmosphere of the morning prayers at 7 a.m., events such as gagaku music performances and exorcisms are held. The Furumine-en Garden within the shrine has an area of 82500㎡ which is the largest one in Japan for Japanese gardens built since the Showa Era. Many people who have an interest in gardens visit Furumine-en which was created to enliven the wide natural topography, drawing in the waters of the Oashikawa River.

The power spot in the back

You will want to drop by the Jinzen Tomoe-no-Shuku which is 10 minutes away from Furumine Shrine by car and has been designated as a Prefectural Important Cultural Property. The training ground of Shodo Shonin who had opened Nikko, the quietly standing shrine and the sacred tree provide a mysterious atmosphere beyond the torii gate.

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