Kanda Myōjin Shrine – an important place of refuge for the edo natives
Kanda has prospered as a craftsman’s town since theEdo era (1853 to 1867). It was a town where Edo natives who were workers with the spirit of craftsmanship gathered, so it was a very lively area indeed. The character of Edo natives was said to be “quick to anger in a fight, but also generous and warmhearted.” It’s also said that their craftsmen’s spirit was similar to that of “meisters” in Germany. Kanda craftsmen had a character that made them very particular about the skills they learned, and they lived for mastering these skills.
Our first article introducing present-day Kanda, with its long history, is about the Kanda Myōjin Shrine. It’s one of the major spots that is representative of the area.
Kanda Myōjin Shrine during spring time
History of the Kanda Myōjin Shrine
The Kanda Myōjin Shrine boasts a history of 1300 years. It has succeeded the tradition and culture of Edo from the past, and even now it has an endless charm that draws Japanese people to it. During Hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the New Year, 300,000 people visit Kanda Myōjin Shrine. It’s believed that there are many different gods in Japan. It’s a Japanese custom to especially value the god of the area in which you live, and greet that god during the New Year.
Due to the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the Second World War, the buildings in the temple and the precincts sustained great damage twice in half a century. The shrine was renovated quickly both times. Now the Kanda Myōjin Shrine has been rebuilt so well that it’s just as splendid as it was during the Edo era. After the Great Kanto Earthquake especially, the shrine parishioners were quick to start rebuilding. Truly, the Kanda Myōjin Shrine was an important place of refuge for the Edo natives.
From the past to the present – good luck charms for IT security
The Kanda Myōjin Shrine a place where history, cutting-edge technology, and tradition coexist, is near to Akihabara which is considered as the forefront of IT and the center of subcultures. It can be rephrased as a very vibrant area, as it is a jumble of brand-new and old.
You can find a quite interesting and unique Omamori (Japanese good luck charms) in the Kanda Myōjin Shrine. It is a charm for IT Information Security.
Recently in Europe, according to the GDPR, data protection rules have been made stricter. Whether such a good luck charm from the Kanda Myōjin shrine will keep the data protection authorities of your back is up to you to decide. But in general, a sound data protection policy might be the safer bet.
You can also get more general charms, e.g. for the prosperity of business, the safety of your home, successful marriage and success in an examination.
Kanda Festival – Japanese gone wild
These good luck charms are nice for souvenirs but actually, the Kanda Myōjin Shrine is better known for the Kanda Festival. Long history goes along with that, as it is one of the “Tenka Matsuri” because it was visited by the Tokugawa shogunate and the Kanda Festival is also considered as one of the three biggest festivals of the Edo period.
The highlight of the festival, which is held once in two years in early May, is a procession of 300 people wearing traditional clothing that carry about 100 Mikoshi(divine palanquins)into the shrine.
Mikoshi at the Kanda Festival
There are also events related to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and Noh Theater. If you get a chance to come to Japan during the period of the festival you should definitely visit it.
However, you might be surprised to see another side of the Japanese people in contrast to the image of polite and quiet Japanese businessmen with suits and neckties you may have. The Japanese have the ideology where they have a clear separation of special events (“Ha-re”) and everyday life (“Ke”). So, when it comes to festivals, they will go wild. They’ll wear costumes and experience things that would be considered out of place in everyday life. But maybe you will grow to like this other side of the Japanese.
With this article series, we would like to introduce you to the magic of Kanda. Kanda is only one station away from the Tokyo central station. You can experience a completely different Japan by only traveling one station. Make sure to come to visit if you have the time.