The thousands and thousands of shrines in Japan often have the likes of foxes, lions, lion-dogs but there are a few exceptions like wolves, elephants or horses. Never did I know there was a frog shrine though, and it was found by accident not too far from the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre.
What is more surprising is that I came across this place completely by accident as my wife and I were only in the area to visit the nearby park to see the Autumn leaves, Jōmon-era dwellings and basically just enjoy visiting a part of Saitama unknown to us. A short train journey up the Tobu Toju Line to Mizuhodai Station saw us stumble upon this quirky but toad-ally awesome shrine!
A few giant and slightly comical looking frogs guard the entrance to Mizumiya Shrine (1762-3 Mizuko, Fujimi, Saitama-ken) and then a stone path lined with smaller frog statues leads you to the altar.
For frog fans this place is a must-see and there are all manner of frog and toad (no I still don’t know the difference!) statues.
I actually thought that was it but the main hall was a bit further on. This had two more serious looking frogs on pedestals in front of it which really is a unique sight. Just to the side of the main altar was a hoop game for worshippers wanting to see their fortune revealed in a slightly unconventional way. Sadly, a family was busy playing with that so I couldn’t get too see how accurate my throwing ability is!
Both before and after that we spent some time in Mizukokaizuka Park which is a 20 minute walk from Mizuhodai Station. It is home to a museum as well as about half a dozen reproductions of pit-house dwellings from the Jōmon Period (14,000–400 BC) of prehistoric Japan.
It is said that this park was built to preserve the remains of a village from approximately 6000 years ago. It was only possible to enter one of the dwellings but that’s ok as there’s nothing much to see inside. It may just be because of Covid_19 precautions though!
I’ve been inside similar places like Nihon Minka-en Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum (Kanagawa), Toro Museum (Shizuoka) and the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum so I wasn’t too fussed! Admiring them from outside was enough for us.
These huts may have been the reason for our trip but it was the frog shrine which was the more ribbet-ing of the two!
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