A visit in Joshinetsu Kogen Natural Park will allow you to discover the Shinto buildings, the lost mountain of Nakano and the Togakushi Shrine located in the Nagano Mountains. The last one, is divided into five small sanctuaries scattered throughout the territory.
The legends of Togakushi area
The Togakushi Shrine is located on a mountain of 1,904 meters high and is a special place for Japanese mythology.
The story tells that two brothers, Amaterasu (goddess of the sun) and Susanoo (god of the sea), were playing when suddenly Susanoose got angry and began to break everything. Subsequently, Amaterasu hid in a cave leaving the world in darkness. The gods did their best to get her out. When she left, the world regained light.
Also, Togakushi is famous for hosting the beginnings of the Togakure ninjutsu school, a children’s martial arts school. This school, created 900 years ago, was the place of refugees from China escaping wars in the Tang dynasty.
The five shrines of Togakushi
The Shinto shrine of Togakushi is divided in five buildings, although the most important are three:
Firstly, you will find the Chusha shrine, located in the central part of the Togakushi shrine. If you visit it, you will see lush forests and a famous tree over eight hundred years old.
Secondly, you will find the Hokosha, surrounded by three hundred copies of cryptomerias or “sugis”. This sanctuary is dedicated to the protective goddess of motherhood, academic life and sewing.
Finally, you will find the Okusha sanctuary, at the top of the mountain. It is dedicated to the god of the three wonderful rocks. Next to the Okusha sanctuary you find the Kuzuryu sanctuary.
Other interesting places
It is necessary to mention that there are other points of interest in the area such as the Togakushi Minzoku-kan, a set of buildings that supports the presence of the former ninja school. Also, you can find some restaurants, mainly noodles. Certainly, this region is famous for its Togakushi-soba.
In conclusion, Japan offers thousands of experiences for tourists who wish to discover the Japanese culture and their customs.
As a last advice, we recommend you to apply for Japanese visa before your trip due to from 2020 this transaction will be mandatory.