Monday, January 29, 2018

Tenguyama Shrine (天狗山神社), Dragon God Shrine & Statue of a Shinto Priest @ Mt. Tengu in Otaru [Hokkaido, Japan]

You would not need to search around for directions to the Tenguyama Shrine as it's super near the long nosed goblin head statue; literally a few footsteps away.

Anyway, you would not have missed the white flags lining the path towards the shrine. I find the usage of the white color intriguing as China, Japan's neighbor in the far east, prefers bright colors and only dons white in funerals.

The iconic structure denoting a shrine's entrance! I recognize the Chinese characters on one of its pillars; 昭和57年 which means this Japanese temple was completed in 1982.

A simple introduction to the Tenguyama Shrine.

I think i have mentioned this countless times; Japanese shrines generally don't appeal to me. Friends who have been to Japan countless times (e.g. the Great Kon) said i just haven't been to the really good ones.

To a certain extent, i do agree even though in general, Japanese shrines have plain decoration that tends to fuse with nature and the general atmosphere is quieter and more peaceful than its Chinese counterparts.

In case you are mistaken, as i was, this shrine doesn't honour the tengu which is a creature and not a deity; the patron saint for tenguyama shrine is Sarutahiko.

The money box for your donations! According to the introduction, praying to Sarutahiko is said to aid in prosperous business and smooth traffic.

To the left of tenguyama shrine is another shrine even though i couldn't find any information about it on the official brochure and website.

The last two Chinese characters (赤沼龍神) translate into dragon god.

I am always curious about what's inside the 'house' that's in the Shinto shrines. For Chinese, the statues would always act as a relatable vessel for devotees to pray to.

Another stone tablet was erected behind the shrine; can't recognize the words though.

There's no money box but devotees continued to place coins in hope for their wishes to come true. 100 yen is about S$1.20 and as you can see, that's a lot of 100 yen coins out in the open!

On the left of dragon god shrine is the statue of a monk.

Again no information and the four Chinese characters offered scant information except that it's a Shinto priest. Speaking of Shinto priest, i once had a strange encounter with one in Singapore at Clementi MRT station.

I was studying in Singapore Polytechnic then and i was on my way up the escalator and when i reached the platform, the Shinto priest just threw his string of prayer beads at me and pulled it back immediately. He murmured a few words of prayers and continued his way while my feet remained glued to the ground; shocked and not knowing if there's any ominous aura around me.

Nothing happened to me; not that i recall as it's almost 20 years ago! Anyway, there was this line of smaller stone statues on the side leading up to the statue.

Quite interesting even though i still don't know their origins.

This boulder didn't suggest anything and i can vaguely make out two words; life umbrella. If the first character is save, then it would be interesting as it would mean save-life umbrella. And there's no brolly from where i see.


Summit of Mt Tengu,
Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

Location Map

As above.

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