On Christmas Eve it was Day 2 of our Fuji-kawaguchiko trip and my fiance and I had already watched the sunrise over Mt. Fuji and visited Arakurayama Sengen Park. Now it was time to visit the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine 富士吉田浅間神社 before returning to Tokyo!
On the second and last day of our Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県 trip, my fiance and I woke up early to view the sunrise over Mt. Fuji and visited Arakurayama Sengen Shrine and Park. Our next stop was a very famous shrine that I hadn’t visited for years.
Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine/北口本宮冨士浅間神社
The Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine 北口本宮冨士浅間神社, known as the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine for short, is located in Fuji-kawaguchiko 富士河口湖町, near the base of Mt. Fuji 富士山. This was the traditional starting point for pilgrimages up the mountain from the north side. Today, however, most people take a bus to the Fuji 5th Station, further up the mountain, to start their climb. Directly across the mountain on the other slope is the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha 富士山本宮浅間大社 in Fujinomiya 富士宮市 in Shizuoka Prefecture 静岡県.
This shrine is a Japanese power spot (well, all of Mt. Fuji is technically a power spot), and so as you can imagine you can sense the energy here. I’m not one for hocus-pocus type of beliefs, but if you visit this shrine it is hard to deny that there is something there in the dense forested sanctuary. A power spot is a place that has spiritual energy (usually associated with Shintoism), and where you can receive an energy recharge that heals or refreshes. These are places where you just feel good when you enter.
We came in off the parking lot into the side of the compound, although the more dramatic entrance is the long wooded pathway leading from the main road into the shrine. You enter the shrine’s compound under a dramatic torii gate (that’s the big red posts), and then cross through a smaller gate before you reach the main compound. There are several smaller shrines, including an Inari shrine, which is dedicated to the Shinto deity Inari. This deity often takes the form of a fox or kitsune, and the shrines are often guarded by fox statues (one male, and one female).
Within the compound, 4 trees once marked the boundaries of the shrine. Now, 3 of these trees remain and they are over 1000 years old. These remaining trees are natural monuments. For a long time, even before the popularity of Japanese power spots arose, this place has been considered an important spiritual area. Although you cannot see Mt. Fuji when you are in the forested enclave of the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine, it takes only a few minutes to get to any of the many amazing vantage points to see Mt. Fuji.
Fuji-kawaguchiko offers natural beauty in a mountainous, forested region quite different from the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. It’s only a 2-3 hour train ride from Tokyo, which makes it an ideal spot for a day trip to escape the summer heat or to find a quiet winter spot. This mountainous area does get snow in the winter, so make sure to check the weather report if you want to make a winter trip!
Back to Tokyo
On our way back to Tokyo, we stopped at my hometown and did some shopping for omiyage, or souvenirs. Then, after one more look at Mt. Fuji, we headed back to the bustling city.
Have you been to any of Japan’s favorite power spots? Did you sense anything when you were there? Let me know in the comments!