Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Suitengu Shrine (水天宮) - The Typical Shinto Shrine @ Otaru [Hokkaido, Japan]

I can't seem to sleep in nowadays even when i am on holiday; that's the reason why i drove out to the nearby Suitengu Shrine at Otaru while my travel mates were still in dreamland! 

After parking the rented car and checking out the worst toilet in my entire Japan trip, it's finally time to walk up the stairs to my first shrine in Japan. 

One thing i love about Japanese shrines in general is the vibe of being at peace, similar to how i feel when i step into a Buddhist temple. Of course, it depends on the crowd that day which, in my case, was zilch.

Stone lion that's similar to its Chinese counterpart. 

I recognise the characters which mean to wash the heart! I didn't see any water even though i am familiar with the Japanese custom to wash the hands before prayers.

Hanging paper cranes, folded papers? I have no idea then and there's no explanation; i did note the sign for no camera though. It's only when i visited Hokkaido Shrine that i understood what the papers were for and the reason they were folded.

Back to the main shrine which was built in 1919 and on the way to celebrate its centennial next year! The original shrine actually dated back more than half a century before (in 1859) on the same site.

I am the kind of person who mysteriously managed to survive so long in life despite being known as an ultra curious guy; as we all know, curiosity has killed some cats before. Anyway, i would love to explore within the building! 

Out of respect (and the fear of being caught), i resisted the temptation to cross over the low wooden barrier. By the way, above was the money box for your generous donation. 

Courtyard from the main building.

Other angular view of the shrine as i am running out of words.

A lot of cobwebs on the roof; interestingly, we might find their existence an ugly presence in Singapore but here in Japan, it's a matter of living harmoniously with nature.

Notice on the dos and donts i think; i roughly guess that you are not allowed to litter, catch birds and pluck flowers in the shrine. Take a picture with your google translate app to find out more! 

Can anyone help to translate and let me know the content of the notice?

It's related to the smaller shrine next to the main temple and aside from being painted a glaring red, the thing that caught my attention were the dog statues on the sides! 

The patron saint is a dog? I have no idea even though the first character that ran through my mind then was the celestial dog (嘯天犬) that belonged to a prominent Chinese god; Erlang Shen (二郎神).

So cute right; got bib. 

Just as i was about to leave, i caught sight of a pathway that's towards the direction of our airbnb in Otaru (i.e. AMS Suitengu)! Of course i would want to take a closer look! 

Another sign in Japanese; i am guessing once again and believe no firework is allowed on the temple premises and something about walking the dogs and cats.

Staircase down. 

A bit further down and i see a familiar building on the left. From Google map, the shrine was literally next to our airbnb in Otaru (i.e. AMS Suitengu) but there didn't seem to be an access point; hence my decision to drive instead! 

With five of my travel mates looking down from the balcony of our airbnb; i really couldn't deny the fact anymore and must accept the label of being environmentally unfriendly by wasting petrol. 

There's an access from the side of AMS Suitengu and wouldn't take me more than five minutes, even if i leisurely strolled up the stairs. 


In summary, Suitengu Shrine was pretty boring after a while and i am glad i didn't pull my travel mates out of their slumber to join me. I did visit quite a few other shrines and to be honest, they were all about the same although i am most impressed with the Hokkaido Shrine which i would post in greater detail in the near future.

3-1 Aioicho, Otaru, 
Hokkaido 047-0028, Japan

As above.

Information of the Shrine

As above.

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