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Vernal Equinox Day Special

Shrines and Temples to Visit on Vernal Equinox Day


What comes to mind when you hear the word "vernal equinox"?
The vernal equinox is a day to "honor nature and respect all living creatures," and is also known as the "far shore of spring," a day to make offerings to ancestors and visit graves.
March 20 or 21, when day and night are the same length, is the day of the vernal equinox, but why is it not the same day every year?
The reason for this is that the day when the sun passes through the vernal equinox is considered to be the day of the vernal equinox, and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan uses astronomy to calculate the 24 solar seasons and other seasonal divisions to determine the day of the vernal equinox.
As the saying goes, "hot and cold last until the other side of the equinoxes," the early spring, when the weather warms up after the vernal equinox, is the perfect time to go out.
In this issue, we will introduce shrines and temples to visit on Vernal Equinox Day, as well as recommended foods for Vernal Equinox Day!

You can climb Mt. Fuji⁈ Hatomori Hachiman Shrine

  • Hatomori-Hachiman Shrine, Torii Gate
    Hatomori-Hachiman Shrine, Torii Gate
  • Hatomori Hachiman Shrine
    Hatomori Hachiman Shrine

There is a power spot called 《The Path of Sunrise》 where the sun passes directly overhead in a straight line on the vernal equinox. Izumo-taisha Shrine in Shimane, Daisen in Tottori, Motoise in Kyoto, Chikubushima in Shiga, Mt. Shichimen and Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi, Samukawa Shrine in Kanagawa, and Tamamae Shrine in Chiba.
If they were nearby, I could visit them, but as a resident of Tokyo, all of these places are difficult for me to visit...
So instead, I climbed Mt. Fuji at Hatomori Hachiman Shrine in Sendagaya, Tokyo!
After passing through the torii gate of Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, which is a 2-minute walk straight from Sendagaya station, you will see a large rock that looks like a small mountain on the left side.
That is the place called Fuji-zuka, and it is said that climbing to the top will bring you the same blessings as Mt. Fuji.

  • Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, Fuji-zuka
    Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, Fuji-zuka

Although it is a man-made mound, it has a long history and was built in the first year of Kansei Era.
It is designated as a Tangible Folk Cultural Property by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Even though it is a small mound, it is made of rocks and the footing is not good, so it is recommended to wear sneakers when climbing up the Fuji Mound.
The top of the Fuji-zuka is very scenic and offers a panoramic view of the shrine grounds, so please be sure to climb it when visiting Hatomori Hachiman Shrine.

Hatomori Hachiman Shrine and the summit of Mt. Fuji
Hatomori Hachiman Shrine and the summit of Mt. Fuji

Hatomori Hachiman Shrine is rich in nature, and in spring, plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, and narcissus flowers are in beautiful bloom.
Near the plum tree, there is a place to tie Hato-mikuji, which is unique to Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, and it is very relaxing to see many Hato-mikuji and plum blossoms together.
At the hand-watering basin, the flower hand-water with floating flowers is a delight to the eyes and is also one of the highlights of the shrine.

  • Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, Hato-mikuji
    Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, Hato-mikuji
  • Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, flower hand-watering
    Hatomori Hachiman Shrine, flower hand-watering

Why not visit Hatomori Hachiman Shrine to receive blessings from Mt. Fuji, and then spend some time on the shrine grounds looking at the flowers?

Horinji Temple with its beautiful Hanachouzu

  • Horinji Temple
    Horinji Temple
  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu
    Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu

On the day of the Spring Equinox, many people go to visit graves at temples.
What kind of temple is the temple where your ancestors are buried?

I mentioned a little about hanachouzu at Hatomori Hachimangu Shrine earlier, and Horinji Temple in Waseda is famous for its beautiful hanachouzu.
Most shrines and temples that offer hanachouzu have a large number of flowers in their handbasins, but at Horinji Temple, not only the handbasin, but also the entrance gate and even the water bucket are decorated with many flowers and cute objects.

  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu
  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu
  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu
  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu
Horinji Temple

The floral hand-watering is done by the priest of Horin-ji Temple, who purchases and installs all the flowers. While other shrines and temples often ask florists to make their own flower arrangements, the priest of Horin-ji Temple makes the flower arrangements himself out of his desire to entertain visitors to the temple.
The Hanachouzu, which shows the thoughtfulness of the priest, was so beautiful and warm that I wanted to look at it for a long time.

  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu
  • Horinji Temple and the Hanachouzu

Offer a lot of flowers when visiting the gravesites to make our ancestors happy.

Recommended foods to eat on Vernal Equinox Day

Takeno and Ohagi (rice cakes)
Takeno and Ohagi (rice cakes)

Botamochi" is the standard food for the spring equinox and spring equinox, but do you know what is different from "ohagi" eaten on the autumnal equinox?
In fact, it is basically the same food, just called differently depending on the season and region in which it is eaten.
The red beans used to make the bean paste are said to ward off evil spirits, so they are eaten on the far shore to pray for good health and good fortune.
I would like to introduce a store I found that sells Botamochi and Ohagi, which are known as standard offerings, in an unusual form.
It is located in Sakura-shinmachi, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. It is famous for the Hasegawa Machiko Museum of Art, the creator of Sazae-san.
Located about a 10-minute walk from Sakura-shinmachi station, "Take-no to Ohagi" offers a slightly different kind of ohagi.
The store offers a variety of ohagi, including dumpling-shaped ohagi with sweet bean paste and sweet bean paste, as well as ohagi with designs that change with the seasons.

  • Takeno and Ohagi (rice cakes)
  • Takeno and Ohagi (rice cakes)

The flower-shaped Ohagi is especially impressive and cute and are almost too good to eat. It looks like a paste, but the flower is also made of red bean paste and contains mochi rice inside.
The orthodox Botamochi and Ohagi are good, but we also recommend the Ohagi with a difference because the whole family can enjoy eating them together.


How was it?
This time, we focused on the "respect for nature and love for living things" on the day of the Spring Equinox and introduced shrines and temples with beautiful Hanachouzu (flowers).
From spring, the variety of flowers increases, and the colors become more vivid, making people happy just by looking at them.
On Vernal Equinox Day, why don't you share such happy feelings with your ancestors who are always watching over you?
On this year's Vernal Equinox Day, I, along with my family, will bring beautiful flowers to visit my ancestors.