(photos courtesy of the shrine)
Address: 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi Hokkaido 064-0505
Tel/Information: 011-611-0261 Pamphlet in English available at no charge.
How to get there: Take the Tozai Subway line to Maruyama Koen Station, then 15 minutes by foot. Alternatively, 15 minutes by taxi from JR Sapporo Station.
Enshrined kami: Okunitama no kami, Onamuchi no kami, Sukunahikona no kami and the Emperor Meiji
Prayers offered: Household safety, safety on the roads, protection against harm and opening up the way to good luck.
Best times to go: In early to mid April when 1200 cherry trees are in blossom.
Important physical features: Hokkaido Jingu is located slightly west of the center of Sapporo, and basically within Maruyama Park. This 25 acre park includes a 700 foot hill, and virgin wood featuring giant Elm and cypress trees. It is also home to about 2700 cherry tree and numerous species of birds. The shrine itself is constructed in a modern shinmei zukuri style similar to Miyazaki Jingu and Atsuta Jingu, with unpainted wood, a copper sheet roof shaped in imitation of a thatched roof, many chigi and katsuogi and a very large haiden. The long straight sando and the shrine itself, unusually face northeast. Present buildings date from 1978 after the previous ones were destroyed by fire in 1974.
Important spiritual features: Hokkaido Jingu was originally called Sapporo Jinja and enshrined three deities considered deities of land reclamation. Okuniama, Onamuchi and Sukunahikona are referred to as the kaitaku sanshin (sanjin), and these same three kami were enshrined in shrines in Taiwan and other countries. Originally these deities are related to Susano-o and Izumo. However in the Meiji period, they came to represent an imagined pure and ancient form of Shinto, which the Meiji government was eager to promote. Though originally founded in 1869, the shrine was first built in Sapporo in 1871. In 1964, the spirit of Emperor Meiji was also enshrined and the name was changed to Hokkaido Jingu. The appellation "jingu" is considered by many only to apply to Ise—which is called simply "Jingu". But the Meiji government, anxious to promote a nationwide shrine system with Ise Jingu at the head, and the emperor at the head of all, gave this designation to a number of shrines during the late 1800's. Most, some as Miyazaki Jingu and Atsuta Jingu, had ancient links to the imperial myths of the Kojiki and Nihon shoki. Others, such as Heian Jingu and Meiji Jingu (created in the Taisho Era), did not. This highest designation of kanpei taisha came to encompass sixty seven shrines. Ise stood above and apart from this ranking.
|Hokkaido Jingu in the snow|
Festivals: Sapporo Festival, 14 to 16 June. The main festival of the shrine, and one of the largest in Hokkaido. Four mikoshi are on parade and events include kagura, Noh, gagaku, a demonstration of martial arts, and others.
Sapporo Snow Festival, 5 to 11 February. Though neither a festival of Hokkaido Jingu, nor even a Shinto festival, this is the biggest event in Hokkaido, with around 400 giant ice sculptures attracting competitors and visitors from all over the world.