The approach to the shrine is lined with stone lanterns. (Photo: Celine Villeneuve)

Fuji Sengen Shrine

The starting point of the trail to Mount Fuji

The approach to the shrine is lined with stone lanterns. (Photo: Celine Villeneuve)
Cathy Cawood   - 2 min read

Hidden in the heart of a thick forest of cedars is Sengen Jinja. It’s full name is Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Jinja, and it is one of the Asama shrines erected in honor of the deity of Mount Fuji, who is called Konohanasakuya-hime.

These days the vast majority of hikers begin climbing Mount Fuji from the 5th station, but in the old days pilgrims began their long journey to the top of the mountain from Sengen Shrine in Fujiyoshida.

The mystique of the place will grip you as soon as you arrive and walk the long shady avenue lined with stone lanterns until you find an imposing torii.

The site is home to several buildings, all fiery red, and three huge sacred trees, each over 1,000 years old!

On display in one of the buildings you can see sumptuous mikoshi, which are portable shrines designed to carry the souls of deities. One of them features a vermilion Fujisan.

Each year, between August 26 and 27, Sengen Jinja hosts a festival called Yoshida no Himatsuri. To thank the goddess Konohanasakuya-hime her protection, three meter high torches are placed from the entrance of the sanctuary to the main street of Fujiyoshida. When they are lit, the whole city seems to be ablaze like a beautiful bonfire.

The sanctuary is accessible from Fujisan and Kawaguchiko Stations via bus (going in the direction of Yamanakako).

Cathy Cawood

Cathy Cawood @cathy.cawood

 I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for 1 year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for 9 years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page ha...