When I arrived at my hostel in Fuji in the afternoon, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the afternoon. Luckily the owner of my stay came up with an idea. Why don’t you go to Fujinomiya and visit Fujisan Sengen Shrine? I didn’t know this place, but decided to go there.
It appears to be the headquarters of the 1300 Asama shrines in Japan. An Asama shrine is dedicated to the worship of the goddess of volcanoes and especially that of Mount Fuji. Most of the 1300 shrines lie around Mount Fuji, with 3,776 meters the highest mountain in Japan.
The foundation of the temple
When Mount Fuji erupted in the 2nd century B.C., it turned out that a large part of the area was completely destroyed. Emperor Suijin (97-30 B.C.), the eleventh emperor of Japan, had a temple built that is the predecessor of today’s Fujisan Sengen Shrine.
He did so in order to keep the god of the mountain happy and to protect the region from disaster. However, a temple was only built in 806 AD on the spot where Fujisan Sengen Shrine now stands. Already then, this place was labeled as headquarters.
Dedicated to the god of Fuji
The goddess honored with this temple is Konohanasakuya-hime. In Japanese mythology she represents the blossom and the delicate life. She is also the goddess of Mount Fuji and all volcanoes. By worshipping her in Fujisan Sengen Shrine they hope to prevent natural disasters. Konohanasakuya-hime was married to Ninigi-no-mikoto and her father was Ohyamazumi-no-kami. Her father was god of all mountains, but gave the most beautiful mountain to his daughter: Mount Fuji.
Yet a natural disaster…
After a 10 minute walk from the train station I arrive at this shrine. The shrine is spacious, surrounded by small gardens and a park. But many of the current buildings are not from 800 A.D., but from 1854.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, ruler of Japan, had the temple rebuilt in 1605 as a token of thanks to his allies. But during the earthquakes of 1633 and 1854, parts of the shrine were destroyed. Nevertheless, today it is considered to be an important cultural heritage.
Pilgrimage to Mount Fuji
Fujisan Sengen Shrine was originally seen as the starting point for a pilgrimage to the top of the mountain. Especially pilgrims from the Kyoto region came to this shrine. Nowadays this is no longer the case. It is now easier to start at the various stations at the foot of the mountain.
But when the pilgrims started their journey through this shrine, they worshipped the goddess here and washed themselves in the Wakutama Pound before carrying out the 19 kilometer long climb. The climb to the top of the mountain of Fuji is on my list. Unfortunately I arrived on the last day that it was possible to climb this mountain, early September.
Planning a visit to Fujisan Sengen Shrine?
How do I get there?
The Fujisan Sengen Shrine (officially Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha) is a 10-minute walk from Fujinomiya Station. It is also possible to take a bus, but these don’t drive very often. Entrance to the shrine is free.
Would you like to read more about Mount Fuji?
- Mount Fuji: Top 5 attractions, accommodation and transport
- Chureito pagoda: A beautiful view of Mount Fuji
And what did you think of the Fujisan Sengen Shrine? Feel free to leave a message below.