Photo of the Day: Shrine on the Hill

imageJust up the road from Hasedera on Yuigahama Dori, off to the side and into the hills, is a small shrine by the name of Amanawa Jinja.

The torii gate is plain stone, and the stairway up is so steep, you can barely see the shrine building up above from the bottom. It lacks the bilingual sign that most big shrines and temples in the area have. Basically, it appears to be not much of anything.

But oh, it’s much more than nothing.

Climb up the stairs—just watch not to slip or trip—and enjoy the calm green, the view of the city with the ocean peeking through, the little building (pictured) set back and up from the main shrine building.

Dedicated to the god Amaterasu and a branch of the huge Amaterasu-dedicated shrine in Ise, Amanawa Jinja is quiet and rarely crowded—though a steady stream come to pay first-of-the-year respects (hatsumode), at which time brightly coloured lanterns decorate the handrails and shrine grounds.

Amanawa Jinja is believed to be one of the oldest—if not the oldest—still-standing shrines in Kamakura. According to Iso Mutsu in Kamakura: Fact and Legend, Amanawa Jinja was the shrine Yoritomo Minamoto and his wife/consort Masako visited after Yoritomo’s power was confirmed. The family, along with son Sanetomo, also frequented the shrine to pray.

I was invited by Terri over at Perspectives On…Life, Work and Leisure to participate in the Five Days Challenge, which asks us to post five photos, one per day for five days, and to write a story to go with each photo. For each day that we post we are supposed to invite one person to participate.

Today I’m inviting Sophelia from Sophelia’s Adventures in Japan. Sophelia writes about “adventure, academia, adoption” and lots more. Sophelia, if you would like to participate, post a photo every day for five days and write a story to go along with each photo. Your story can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be a short paragraph, a page, or a poem. Each day, please select one person to carry on the challenge. The challenge is not mandatory and can be refused. I hope you accept and have fun!

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