An ancient shrine resting beneath large pines in the Suwa Forest, (Kita Guchi Hongu) Fuji Sengen Shrine served as a focal point of Mt. Fuji worship during the Edo Period. The main shrine, two subordinate shrines, and the massive cedars standing high above the complex were inscribed alongside Mt. Fuji as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in June of 2013. This historic setting marks the beginning of the Yoshida Climbing Route, where pilgrims would pray before their religious pilgrammage up to Mt. Fuji's summit.
Mt Fuji's main deity, is thought to be enshrined here (among other Sengen Shrines surrounding Mt. Fuji's base). This is also home of many events throughout the year, serving as the area's main place of worship. Its biggest event is the Yoshida Fire Festival, but is also used for New Year's Hatsumode events, 7-5-3 Ceremonies, a large Children's Day Event, many weddings, an annual torchlight Noh performance, the opening ceremony to kick off the Mt. Fuji Climbing Season, and others.
It 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 Shrine has a long history as an important spiritual site for honoring Japan's most sacred mountain.
According to popular sources, in the year 110 Emperoer Keiko ordered Yamato Takeru no Mikoto to subjigate the country. It is said that it was on this quest that Yamato Takeru no Mikoto discovered Mt. Fuji and ordered the people to worship and erect a shrine to the Mt. Fuji deities. Since at least the Muramachi Period (1338-1573) this shrine has been patronized by mendicants, monks, locals, and many 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 Shrine attracted the patronage of the peaceful Mt. Fuji pilgrims.
The large wooden torii gate of Sengen Shrine is over 18 meters 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 torii is a sign board which reads "Sangoko Daiichizan," meaning the highest mountain among the three countries [China, India, and Japan].
The Goshinboku, or Sacred Trees, are a particulary fascinating element of the shrine compound. Three of the original sacred trees remain, and measure over 23 meters in diameter. Serving as protectors of Fuji Sengen Jinja, the Goshinboku are over 1000 years old.