Tokyo Re-Discovery

Shrine on a Street Corner: Shimbashi

Sep 24 2015

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Relocated three times in 400 years as Tokyo develops

The Shintora-dori street (a.k.a. “Tokyo Champs-Elysees" ) was opened to traffic in March 2014 between Shimbashi and Toranomon. Walking down the boulevard that was once called "MacArthur Road" (after the general who led the U.S. occupying forces between 1945 and 1952) from Toranomon Hills toward Shimbashi, you will find a bright red shrine gate against a backdrop of skyscrapers. That is Hibiya Shrine known as one of the popular "Power Spots (spiritual places)" in Tokyo.

 

The shrine was established about 400 years ago at Otsukayama (a part of Hibiya Park) and moved to Shibaguchi (near Shimbashi station) in 1606 for the construction of Edo Castle.

The Great Kanto earthquake, that caused catastrophic damage to downtown Tokyo in 1923, forced the shrine to relocate again to Atagoshita (about 5 min's walk from Shimbashi station).

 

The third transfer was in 2009. To develop premises for the Shintora-dori street, a new shrine pavilion was established at the current location. Right next to the elevated railway where Shinkansen (the bullet trains) come and go against a backdrop of shiny skyscrapers in Shiodome business district, the bright red Shinto gateway is overlooking the busy boulevard as if the shrine warmly watches over the growth of Tokyo.

The shrine has also been called as "Saba (mackerel) Shrine."

Back in the Edo period (the period under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, 1603 - 1868) when dentists are only for the privileged class, people tried to relieve the pain of toothache by saying their prayers and abstaining from eating mackerel! After the pain has gone away, they offered mackerel, which were abundant at this once-seaside town.

 

Hibiya Shrine (Japanese Only)

 

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Miss Echo (Translator)


Born and grew up in downtown Tokyo, she is the true lover of Tokyo’s traditional & unique culture. She does researches as she finds something interesting on streets.

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