There really does seem to be a never ending supply of interesting little shrines and temples in Japan which is most welcome news for this blogger who is always on the lookout for unique ones whether it be the temple statue that speaks to you, the baseball shrine or the many animal-related ones like the cat temple, the elephant temple or the shrine with a lion from Trafalgar Square in London.
Now I can add whale shrine to that list thanks to a YouTuber. I came across the Shiverz YouTube channel during the festive season whilst researching a fox-related shrine. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was finding out about a few new interesting shrines that I wasn’t aware of thanks to her Find A Shrine feature. If only I’d thought about putting all the interesting and quirky shrines (and temples) I’ve visited over the years into a special category!!
Following up the whale park in the last Tokyo Fox post, it’s kind of apt to now show off this whale shrine (also known as Kujirazuka). It is located in Shinagawa ward (1-7-17 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa) just seven minutes walk from Kita Shinagawa station on the Keikyu Line. Not only is it a shrine but there’s a whale-related park of sorts next to it albeit a pretty pathetic one with just a couple of those spring rockers for the kids to play on.
The reason for the whale name is due to events in May 1798 when a large whale ended up being washed ashore to this area. Inevitably it got stuck and was taken by the local fishermen who put it on display. The shrine was presumably built to appease the spirit of the whale and allow for people to pay their respects. It’s bones were later buried in the shrine grounds with a mound on top but I somehow failed to notice this bit when I was in attendance!
The official name of this shrine is actually Kagata Jinja and it is a very basic no-thrills affair. However, it is considered to be one of the hundred scenic spots of Shinagawa but having seen the full list I really don’t think it’s much to shout about though!
Click here to watch Shiverz video about the whale shrine
A student had told me that Yoriki Shrine was home to Doraemon and Pokemon statues (not that I really have a clue who they are or what they are all about!) so I pushed on a little further as I was still intrigued. I looked around for a while but it was impossible to spot them! It later turned out that he’d confused Yoriki with Irugi-jinja Shrine. I might as well include a few pictures of the former anyway (below) and you’ll have to wait for a future Tokyo Fox post for further details about the latter!
On the way back I saw a couple of things of interest; a Mickey Mouse barbers and a house with the type of architecture not usually seen in Japan.
Just across the road from the whale shrine is the controversial MariKart company it seems! I can’t say I’d really thought where their base was but just assumed it was in a more central location. I have no doubt that driving one of these whilst dressed as an anime character is fantastic fun but I do get annoyed when I see them on the roads and I’m sure drivers behind them get even more infuriated by such plonkers!
Bonus: This was another shrine which I found thanks to the aforementioned Shiverz. It’s called Okusawa Shrine (5-22-1 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku) and it’s just a five minute walk from Jiyugaoka station. The main feature is the straw dragon wrapped around the torii gate at the entrance to this place which is located amongst much greenery.
Click here to watch Shiverz video about the dragon shrine
Other than the dragon the other thing of interest to me here were the offerings left at the altar. I’ve seen some rather random things over the years but none more bizarre than seeing that someone had left a bag of individually wrapped cakes.
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Alternative Temples And Shrines In Tokyo’
Click here to read ‘Three Of A Kind: Dragon Torii Gates In Tokyo’