Ana Hachimangu Shrine: Known for Prosperity, Protection, and Cultural Enrichment
If you’re looking for good fortune and prosperity, there’s no better place to go than the Ana Hachimangu Shrine, located on a small hilltop next to Waseda-dori Avenue, making it the closest major shrine to Waseda University. This shrine has a fascinating history that dates back to the early Edo period when a samurai created a sand hillock for archery practice. The hillock was eventually used to enshrine the Shinto deity Hachiman after a monk discovered a gold-plated bronze statue of Amida Nyorai inside a nearby cave.
Today, the Ana Hachimangu Shrine is a popular destination for visitors seeking protective amulets during the winter solstice. Its “ichiyo raifuku omamori” charm, available only during this time, is said to bring good luck and business prosperity. To maximize its benefits, the charm must be placed high on a room’s wall facing the “ehou” or lucky direction of the year, at exactly midnight on the first day of the winter solstice, New Year’s Eve, or Setsubun (the last day of winter).
But the shrine is more than just a place to seek blessings; it’s also a cultural hotspot. Every year on Sports Day, the Takadanobaba Yabusame puts on a horseback archery demonstration at Ana Hachimangu Shrine, designated an Intangible Folk Cultural Property by Shinjuku. The demonstration takes place at Toyama Park, adding to the rich historical and cultural significance of this remarkable shrine. If one is seeking good fortune, prosperity, and a distinctive cultural encounter, it is imperative to visit the Ana Hachimangu Shrine.