Together with Fukagawa Fudoson Temple, Monzen Nakacho is famous for Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine. Every three year, this shrine holds a famous summer festival called Mizukake Matsuri – “water-splashing festival”. There is a information about this festival here but unfortunately it does not tell much about the dynamics of this festival. But if you google images of “tomioka hachimangu festival”, you can see hundreds of energetic photos of the festival so you can feel the atmosphere. Oh, I found a good one in Wikipedia.
This shrine is a branch of a shrine located in current Yokohama and was established in 1624. The branch was allowed here for the success of land reclamation – it is Tokyo Bay area. Eitai-ji Temple which is current Fukagawa Fudoson Temple was also opened at that time. The Ukiyoe painting on the left was painted by Hiroshige Ando and it was the scene when the garden of Eitai-ji Temple was opened to the public during spring.
When I visited Tomioka Hachimangu, the main gate area was under refurbishment. Typical temples and shrines in Japan have many small shops who sell souvenirs, sweets, deli, tea, religious goods and so on. That is Monzen Machi, the “town in front of the temples/shrines” and the name of this town, Monzen Nakacho of course comes from this meaning.
In addition to the main shrine, there are several small shrines inside. Eishou Gosha Inari Shrine has a famous Fushimi Inari-like gates. This shrine has been visited by those who are related to trades of fertilizer. Why fertilizer here? In old times, fertilizer was made of dried sardines which were landed in this area.
The shrine which looks like to have six compartments actually has eight different shrines inside. One of the shrine worships Nominosukune who originated sumo wrestling. One of the shrines worships Matsuo Basho, the famous haiku poets in Edo era.
By the six shrines, there is Benten pond and on the small island in this pond, I found a gray bird perchering on a tree.
Tomioka Hachimangu is also famous for the monument of Sumo wrestlers. During late 17th century and early 18th century, Sumo tournaments were held in this shrine. Sumo wrestling used to be a sacred performance dedicated to God. Therefore, the shrine has a large monument dedicated to Sumo champions.
On the two large stone monuments in front, the shapes of sumo wrestlers are curved.
For More Information on Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine
Address: 20-3 Tomioka 1-chome, Koto-ku, Tokyo