From Merged Shrines
Myōgi Jinja 妙義神社
Tsushima Jinja 津島神社
Earliest mention of: 1839
Annual Festival: First Saturday/Sunday of April
The following is largely taken from a notice board in the shrine. Work on the shrine, which was modelled on the main Suwa Taisha, started in June 1839 but was not completed until February 1847. The construction was financed entirely by the villagers, and was overseen by Shiobara Gensuke （塩原源助）an apprentice to one of the masters of the Tatekawa school of shrine carpenters, Tatekawa Washirō. Gensuke's dragon carvings on the main hall are said to be impressive (although I was unable to see them because of their positioning). The roof on the main hall was was originally covered with hinoki bark thatching but as this was very susceptible to damage caused by the heavy snowfalls in the region it was replaced by copper roofing in November 2006. Just behind the main hall there is a large (350cm in circumference) cedar tree which may be as old as the shrine itself. In November 2005 a ceremony was held to
formally declare it a sacred tree (shinboku).
Almost three km, 30 minutes or so, on foot from Shiojiri Station. There is a bus service, the nearest stop is about 0.6km from the shrine. If you are in the neighbourhood this shrine is worth a visit, otherwise probably not. It has a rustic charm and the serenity usually found in out of the way shrines, but otherwise not a great deal to offer. For me, its visually most interesting aspect is the ryōbu torii and the rough and ready way in which all six pillars are supported.