Nagano’s Togakushi Shrine sits at the foot of the sacred Mt. Togakushi, and has a lower, middle, and upper shrine area, with a total of 5 shrines: the Hoko-sha, Hino-Miko-sha, Chu-sha, Oku-sha, and Kuzuryu-sha. The shrine is known as a very mythically rich shrine. We will introduce the history, must-see points, and how to get around the shrine in this article.
About Togakushi Shrine
The shrine was first constructed about 2,000 years ago. In the myths, the shrine sprang from "the doorway to heaven” in it’s current form, and was located on the middle of Mt. Togakushi. During the late Heian Period, the area was known for being a center for the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism, and later it was known as Kenko Temple, and was held in the same state of honor as Mt. Hie (Shiga Prefecture, Kyoto-fu) and Mt. Koya (Wakayama Prefecture). But in the Meiji Era, the separation of religions changed the Buddhist temple into a Shinto shrine. Now, all of the 5 shrines are popular for having various power spots, and draw many pilgrims and visitors.
What to See at Togakushi Shrine
The main thing to see at Togakushi Shrine is the main shrine, the Oku-sha. With the sacred mountain, Mt. Togakushi, right behind it, the shrine holds the spirit of the god Ame-no-Tajikara-Onomikoto, and is said to bring good fortune for earnest prayers, good harvest, winning at sports, etc., so many pilgrims come to visit for that purpose. The path to the shrine is nearly 2km long, and along the way are a line of ceders that are more than 400 year old, that have been declared as a Nagano Prefectural Natural Monument. There is also the Zuishimon Gate along the path, with its vermilion thatched roof.
Other than the Oku-sha, other must-sees are the Kuzuryu-sha, which is dedicated to the famous god of water, rain, relationships, and tooth cavities, a pair of 500 year old ‘married ceders’ (double ceders) at the Hino-Miko-sha, and the magnificent main building at the Hoko-sha.
Access to The Togakushi Shrine
From JR Nagano Station, change to the bus at the Bus Stop Number 7 at the bus rotary of 'ALPICO Kotsu Nagano Station Information Center’ (アルピコ交通バス長野駅前総合案内所前), and get on the bus going to ‘Loop-bashi Keiyu Togakushi Taka-Hara’ (ループ橋経由戸隠高原行き), and get off at the bus stops listed below.
- For Hoko-sha: get off at the ‘Togakushi Hoko-sha’ (戸隠宝光社) stop (About 1 hour)
- For Chu-sha: get off at the ‘Togakushi Chu-sha’ (戸隠中社) stop (About 1 hour and 7 minutes)
- Hino-Miko-sha: get off at the ‘Togakushi Eigyosho’ (戸隠営業所) stop (About 1 hour and 5 minutes)
- For Oku-sha or Kuzuryu-sha: get off at the ‘Togakushi Oku-sha Entrance’ (戸隠奥社入口) stop (About 1 hour and 10 minutes). The Oku-sha is about 2km from the bus stop, so please allow about 40 minutes to climb to the shrine, as the path is quite steep in places. In the winter, the bus doesn’t stop at the Oku-sha bus stop, so be prepared to walk from the Chu-sha, or take a taxi.
How to Explore Togakushi Shrine
Because there are five shrines at the base of Mt. Togakushi, it takes some planning ahead if you want to visit them all. If you want to walk to all of them, please plan on at least 4 hours. There is no specific order in which it is best to see the shrines, but we recommend leaving the main shrine, Oku-sha, for last. Starting furthest from Oku-sha, first go to Hoko-sha, then Hino-Miko-sha, then Chu-sha, Kuzuryu-sha, and finally Oku-sha. The paths are well-defined, but are sometimes muddy, so wear clothes that are easy to walk in.
- Spot name：Togakushi Shrine (戸隠神社)
- Street Adress： (Chu-sha) 3506 Togakushi, Nagano-shi, Nagano 〒381-4101
- Access：See above
- Ticket：Free for entrance
- Opening Hours : 09:00~17:00
- Closed: Open Year-round