Fuji Sengen Jinja

"Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Jinja"
Ancient shrine and the starting point for the Mt. Fuji pilgrimage

Fuji Sengen Jinja rests beneath the aegis of Mt Fuji in a wooded area covering 99,000 square meters. The entrance path is lined with mossy stone lanterns, which create a deeply spiritual setting. Dedicated to the official Shinto Goddess of Mt.Fuji, Fuji Sengen Jinja has a long history as an important place to honor Japan's most sacred mountain.

According to popular sources, in the year 110 Emperoer Keiko ordered Yamato Takeru no Mikoto to subjigate the country, and during the latter's mission he came upon Mt. Fuji. It is said that it was here at the Fuji Sengen Shrine that Yamato ordered the people to worship and erect a shrine to the Mt. Fuji deities. Since at least the Muramachi Period (1338-1573) this shrine at the base of the mountain was patronized by mendicants, monks, locals, and others.

Numerous military leaders in Japan's historical past were also inclined to favor this shrine, including the illustrious Takeda Shingen, one of the most famous warriors of the Warring States Period. Much later, during the Tokugawa Shogunate (1600-1868), Fuji Sengen Jinja attracted the patronage of the peaceful Mt. Fuji pilgrims, the Shojiko.

A Kagura dancer performing for a festival.

The large wooden tori gate of Sengen Shrine is over 18m in height. It is one of the largest wooden gates in Japan and according to tradition is rebuilt slightly larger every six decades. Near the top of the tori is a sign board which reads "Sangoko Daiichizan," meaning "the highest mountain among the three countries [China, India, and Japan]."

Sacred Grove
The Goshinboku, or Sacred Trees, are a particulary fascinating element of the shrine compound. Three of the original sacred trees remain, and measure over 23m around. Serving as protectors of Fuji Sengen Jinja, the Goshinboku are over 1000 years old.