Tokyobling's Blog

The Hidden Shrine of Akihabara – Hanabusa Shrine

Posted in Places by tokyobling on January 6, 2014

In the middle of Tokyo’s electronics and anime heart there is a hidden shrine, quite possible the least visited shrine in Tokyo. As much as I have searched I can’t find any information on the old Hanabusa Shrine (花房神社), but in the old Edo period it must have been much more accessible than it is these days. It is located on private land but there is no road or street to access it, a sure sign that it must have been conveniently “overlooked” by the city office or construction companies back in the days when it was still a free standing structure on its own piece of land.

To reach Hanabusa shrine you walk towards Akihabara station on the main street, until you reach the huge Donki store (1st photo). When you do, enter the small side street (2nd photo) and keep walking until you reach the tiny opening between two buildings (3rd photo). From there you squeeze yourself through the alley until you reach the shrine on your right. The entrance to the alley from the other side is obscured by the back entrance to a Liberty store (selling manga and toys). When I visited there were fresh offerings on the altar for the new year, so it is obviously being looked after by someone, maybe even the head priest of the shrine? Hanabusa Shrine is easily the smallest full shrine I have ever seen. According to the Chiyoda city office, the legal status of the alleyway is unclear so it is possible that I was technically trespassing on private property when I entered the ally, so if you chose to check this hidden shrine out for yourself, be careful, don’t litter, don’t smoke and make yourself as small and inconspicuous as possible! I have been in Akihabara hundreds of times over the last decade but I love that it is still possible for me to make these sort of really strange discoveries here!

Sorry for the 100% black and white photos of this post, I thought this sort of gritty street scene demanded a similarly gritty B&W photos series!








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