Shiga-ken Gokoku Shrine

Description: 
Among thousands shrines across Japan, the little and simple Shiga-ken Gokoku in Shiga plays an special and important role, different from most of Shinto shrines. Built in 1876 by the last lord of Hikone Clan Ii Naonori, the shrine commemorated the Hikone Clan warriors killed in Boshin War. Later, warriors died in Seinan-no-eki, the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars, the World War I and World War II, were all enshrined at the shrine. By now, Shiga-ken Gokoku commemorates 34750 war dead, playing an important part in the eternal peace and security of Japan.
 

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If you are so familiar with popular appearance of Shinto shrines along Japan's length, you will be impressed by the strange and unique architecture of Shiga-ken Gokoku Shrine. It has a symmetrical structure with a stone paved path running through the grounds to the main yard. Shiga-ken Gokoku owns a simple gate with a similar shape with a torri gate, brown lacquered, tall, slender and silent. Long long ago, there are several gates like that dotting the long path and when you stand in the beginning or ending point, you can see a row of same gates following others endlessly.

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Trees do not grow around the precinct but rising along the stone paved path, on both sides of the yard and running around the back of Shiga-ken Gokoku like a warm embrace and a kind protection. Strolling the main path, you can see many lanterns of both iron and stone, symmetrically standing in pairs along the path. As the path widens to be a large yard, you can see the main hall of the shrine. It has a figure of a thatched roof house, small and low. Two lower buildings on both sides stay obliquely against your eyes, creating a feeling of two smooth wings. Inside, the hall owns a simple structure of wood, white paper, ropes and hanging lanterns.

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Shiga-ken Gokoku shrine is famous for its blessing ritual which attracts many locals, visitors and even important politicians. They gather at the shrine to pray for happy and peaceful life. The deities of Shiga-ken Gokoku are believed to earnestly answer to your sincere prayers for protection against evil, good luck, thriving business, and everything concerning your daily life. From the 13th to the 15th of August of every year, they hold Mitama festival for the souls of the dead. About 500 lanterns will be hung and lit up around the precinct of the shrine. The tender light from these lanterns is believed to have power of healing the souls of the dead, and even living hearts feel warm and peaceful when looking at this dazzling scene. In addition, Chrysanthemum exhibition is held from the middle of October to the middle of November every year at Shiga-ken Gokoku shrine.

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Open time: 
From 9:00 am to 4:00pm.
Last admission at 3:30 pm
Admission: 

Freely access

How to access: 

From Shin-Osaka station or Kyoto station: take the north-bound JR Rapid train on the Tokaido Line and get off at Hikone station. Take a 10 minute walk from the West exit of Hikone Station on JR Biwako Line.