Thursday, January 26, 2023

Saga Shrine & Matsubara Shrine

Saga Shrine & Matsubara Shrine

With lines of people waiting for their first shrine visit of the year, hatsumode, 5 full days already into the year, it is an indication of how popular Saga Shrine is with local inhabitants. It is also the main venue for Shinto-style weddings, car-blessings etc.

many miko, shrine maidens, were also in evidence. Mostly students hired for the new year period, the shrine's busiest, and most profitable, time of the year, major festivals may also see the hiring of temporary miko.

Saga Shrine is located just north of the moat of the old castle. The shrine is relatively new, founded in the Meiji period and enshrining the last two daimyo of the former Saga Domain, Nabeshima Naomasa and his sone Naohiro. A lot of the last generation of daimyo got themselves enshrined as gods, especially those daimyos who were pro-imperialist like the daimyos of Choshu, Satsuma, and Saga.

Immediately adjacent to Saga Shrine, and in reality not at all separate, is the older Matsubara Shrine, founded a century earlier, and enshrining the ancestors of the Nabeshima and their earlier generations.

Within Matsubara Shrine are many sub-shrines and other points of interest, but on this trip, it was so crowded and I just literally walked through. A few years ago while walking the Kyushu Fudo  Myo  pilgrimage I stopped in and explored more deeply, so will post much more later.

This was the end of my 56yj day walking the Kyushu pilgrimage, and I estimated that I had already walked more than 1500 kilometers, several hundred more than the whole of the Shikoku Ohenro, and I still had more of Saga, all of Nagasaki, and then back into Fukuoka before I would finish. Tomorrow I would head back home and return to Saga in February to continue on....


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