This article is also available in Japanese. You can refer to it from here.
We will introduce Susanoo Shrine in Minami-Senju of Tokyo, a Shinto shrine with over 1,200 years of history. And the precincts of this shrine were the social meeting place for writers and Haiku poets during the Edo period.
This article contains helpful information for you to visit Susanoo Shrine. All the data is worth knowing, including its history, highlights, enshrined Shinto gods, benefits to worship, and access methods. Just reading this article will make this shrine more interesting to you.
- Enshrined Deities and Their Blessings
- Other Useful Information
According to the shrine, the history of Susanoo Shrine dates back to the Heian period, which is more than 1,200 years ago. Kokuchin, a disciple of En no Ozunu (the founder of Shugendo), lived in this neighborhood. There was a small mound near his dwelling, and a strangely shaped stone was on top of it. Kurochin worshiped the stone as a sacred place and worshiped it every day.
In the 14th year of Enryaku (795 AD), when Kokuchin was praying for the stone, Susanoo Okami (素盞雄大神) and Asuka Okami (飛鳥大神) appeared in front of him. These two deities told him to build a shrine to glorify them so that they would protect people from the plague and make the land prosperous. Then Kokuchin built a shrine and worshiped the strange stone that the deities had descended. That is the beginning of Susano’o Shrine.
Enshrined Deities and Their Blessings
Susanoo Okami (素盞雄大神)
- Other names: Susanoo no mikoto (素戔男尊), Gozu tenno (牛頭天王), etc,
- Divinity: A Shinto god of the sea, storms, agriculture, etc.
- Blessings: Calamity prevention, good fortune, matchmaking, huge harvest, etc.
Asuka Okami (飛鳥大神)
- Other names: Kotoshironushi no kami (事代主神), Hitokotonushi no kami (一言主神), Ebisu (夷), etc.
- Divinity: A Shinto god of wisdom, business, fishery, etc.
- Blessings: Prosperous business, economic fortune, good catch, maritime safety, etc.
The Zuikoseki Stone
In its precincts, Susanoo Shrine conserves the sacred stone, which the two deities appeared. The official name of this stone is Shin’eimen-zuikō-keiseki (神影面瑞光荊石), but its common name is Zuikoseki.
“Edo Kinko Michi Shirube (Landmarks in and around the Edo district),” a book compiled in the 12th year of Bunsei (1829 AD) during the Edo period, featured this sacred stone. According to this book, local people tried to bridge the Sumida River near this shrine. But they couldn’t drive the bridge pier because the root of this stone extended to the river.
In addition, there are many elementary schools and parks with the name Zuiko around this shrine. These are named after this Zuikōseki stone.
Susanoo Shrine has Fujizuka (富士塚) called Kotsukahara Fuji (小塚原富士) in the precincts. The origin of it dates back to the first year of the Genji era (1864 AD). The shrine enshrined the small mound where the Zuikoseki stone was on as Fujizuka. In addition to Asama Shrine, there are as many as 20 dedicated monuments in this Fujizuka.
Unfortunately, you cannot climb this Fujizuka most of the days; you will have to make wishes from the foot of the mound. But the shrine has a ceremony called Oyama Biraki on July 1st every year, and you can climb this Fujizuka on that day.
The Sacred Ginkgo Tree
In the precincts, there is a mighty tree called Kosodate no Icho (the ginkgo tree of child-rearing). The tree’s age is about 500 to 600 years, with a trunk circumference of about 3.3m, and a height of about 30 m.
There is lore about this ginkgo tree. A long time ago, a woman was in trouble because she couldn’t get breast milk for her baby. After decocting the bark of this tree and drinking it, she got enough breast milk. Since then, parents with young children began to sprinkle rice polishing juice around this tree and pray for the safe growth of their children.
Even today, this tree is still worshiped by parents with young children. Many parents hung Ema votive tablets for child-rearing prayers to this tree, and it tells you how much people put faith in this sacred tree.
The Jizo Bodhisattva Hall
This must-see is not a hall but is a group of stone monuments consisting of Jizo Bodhisattva statutes (地蔵), Hokyointo pagoda towers (宝篋印塔), and Koshinto pagoda towers (庚申塔). These monuments are from the Edo period. For example, the Jizō Bodhisattva statutes are featured in the “Edo Famous Places,” a geography book published in Tempo 5 (1834 AD). And the oldest Koshinto pagoda tower is from Enho 6 (1678 AD).
A Hokyointo pagoda tower is a small stone tower that houses the Hokyoin Dharani, one of the Buddhist sutras. Worshiping this tower will eliminate sins you committed in the past, avoid suffering, and gain longevity.
A Koshinto pagoda tower is a stone pagoda based on the Koshin-shinko (庚申信仰), a folk faith in Japan with Taoist origins. According to the faith, Sanshi (三尸), an imaginary insect, inhabits our body. While you are sleeping on the Koshin days that occur every 60 days, this imaginary insect leaves your body and tells the Heavenly Emperor the sins you have committed in your life to shorten your life.
As a result, people have become accustomed to gathering on the Kōshin days and spending nights without sleeping. This gathering is called Koshinko. And those, who continued this gathering 18 times for three years, built a Koshinto pagoda tower to commemorate the achievement.
The sacred water
There is a Chozuya (a purification fountain) on the right side of Omotesando (the front approach). The Chozuya of Susanoo Shrine uses water from a deep well (depth 40m). More than 50 items of water quality tests have proven that this water fits to drink. For that reason, this shrine calls this well water Goshinsui (the sacred water) and offers their worshipers as drinking water.
The shrine provides teacups next to the Chozuya so that you can drink this sacred water on the spot. In addition, there is a pump installed on the back of the Chozuya. You can draw water from it.
There are many shrines in the suburbs of Tokyo where you can take Goshinsui. However, you will have to boil it most of the time before you drink it. It is pretty rare to find Goshinsui that you can drink as it is, like Susano’o Shrine.
Other Useful Information
- From 08:30 to 18:00
- Minami-Senju 6-60-1, Arakawa-Ku, Tokyo 116-0003
Public Transport (Train)
- 8 minutes on foot from Minami-Senju Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
- 8 minutes on foot from Minami-Senju Station on the JR Line
- 8 minutes on foot from Minami-Senju Station on the Joban Line
- 8 minutes on foot from Minami-Senju Station on the Tsukuba Express Line
- 8 minutes on foot from Senju-Ohashi Station on the Keisei Line
- 10 minutes on foot from Minowabashi Station on the Toden Arakawa Line
Public Transport (Bus)
- 10 minutes on foot from Senju-Ohashi Stop on Toei Bus Route Kusa-43 (草 43)
Public Restroom Availability