Area Guide

[Tokyo] Shinjuku Juniso Kumano-jinja Shrine (十二社熊野神社): A Serene Haven amidst Shinjuku’s Bustling Cityscape

Discover the Serene Oasis Known as Juniso Kumano Shrine in Shinjuku

Nestled in the heart of Shinjuku’s busy cityscape lies a tranquil oasis – the Juniso Kumano Jinja shrine. As you wander through the shrine’s humble wooden buildings, you’ll discover the hall of worship called haiden and hear the legend of the shrine being the guardian of Shinjuku. The lush greenery surrounding the shrine provides a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

But this shrine’s history goes way back to the Oei Era (1394-1428) when a man named Suzuki Kuro traveled from Kii province to enshrine the deities of Junisho Gongen from his hometown Kumano Sanzan. This act gave rise to the name of the surrounding area – Juniso. The shrine boasts natural wonders like the Juniso-ike ponds of varying sizes and a grand waterfall.

The shrine’s reputation as a scenic spot only grew during the Edo period. It eventually transformed into a hanamachi, a district where geisha live and work. Tea houses and restaurants lined the area, adding to the charm of the shrine.

Though the Meiji period saw the disappearance of the waterfall and Juniso-ike due to the development of the Yodobashi Purification Plant, the shrine remains a symbol of faith and strength for the people. Even as the Shinjuku area transformed into a bustling hub of skyscrapers, the Juniso Kumano Shrine stands as a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Don’t miss this serene and historic shrine on your next visit to Shinjuku.

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