Nishina Shinmei Shrine


Dec 8, 2016

Are you done with skiing or snowboarding in Nagano? Stop by the city of Omachi to visit Nishima Shinmei Shrine – a shrine that seems to be untouched by time.

It is Japan’s oldest shrine. However, its actual age is unknown. Although ancient records suggest that it was established in 1192 AD, some speculate that the shrine might have been around since the Heian era (794 - 1185AD).

Did you know that Nishima Shinmei Shrine is also the only Shrine made in the architectural style of Shinmei-zukuri listed as a National Treasure of Japan? Shinmei-zukuri is a way of building using Japanese cypress without any paint on the wood.

At the shrine, you can walk among gigantic old trees like Japanese cypress, pine and fir trees. The trees bring about a solemn and respectful atmosphere here. I’m in awe of the two trees near the entrance of the shrine. They are estimated to be about 700 years old! Their circumference is about 5 meters and they are more than 50 meters tall. There used to be three trees, but one of them, sadly, was uprooted by strong wind.

The forest around Nishima Shinmei Shrine is also listed as a Natural Treasure by Nagano prefecture.






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