Akihabara Shrine: Spiritual Relief for the Weary Otaku

The Akihabara Shrine, bringing together the traditional and the new (Photo: Zeb)

Step aside Kanda Myojin Shrine, here is the Akihabara Shrine

Kanda Myojin Shrine of Live Live fame is known as “the shrine” of Akihabara. But, tucked behind electronic stores in the heart of Akihabara lies the modest Akihabara Shrine.

 

Akihabara Shrine looks like your average Shinto shrine. (Photo: Zeb)

 

This Shinto shrine opened to the public in June 2016 with the goal to create a “new power spot that corresponds to the changing landscape of Akihabara.” While on the streets of Akihabara people can easily miss this shrine. Akihabara Shrine is a small indoors shrine away from the main streets. However, the red torii can certainly catch the eye of the observant visitor. At first glance, the Akihabara Shrine looks like any other small shrine. Upon closer inspection, however, it is evident that it is not like any other.

Decorated with the otaku in mind (Photo: Zeb)

 

The torii is even has otaku decor (Photo: Zeb)

 

Figures line one wall of the shrine, and on the opposite side prayer plaques covered with manga-esque illustrations line the other. The Akihabara Shrine offers memorial services for beloved figures as well for a nominal fee.

 

The wall of figures at the shrine’s entrance (Photo: Zeb)

 

Prayer plaques (ema) for those who want the gods to see their wishes (Photo: Zeb)

Spiritual Power for Otaku

Visitors to the shrine can pay their respects to enshrined deity Amaterasu-Miroku and associated deities Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto and Ukanomitama. Amaterasu-Miroku is a fusion of the Shinto sun goddess and Buddhist Bodhisattva.  Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto and Ukanomitama are deities of traditional performing arts and agriculture respectively.

The lineup of omamori (Photo: Zeb)

 

For those who want a souvenir, the shrine offers a wide array of amulets (omamori). The overlarge omamori is meant to bring good luck and prosperity to Akihabara. Miko at the shrine recommends the Gijutsu Jōtatsu (技術上達) omamori to artists, writers, and anyone else involved in the creative industries. “These amulets have really worked for those bought them,” according to one miko at the shrine.

Much like how the neighboring Kanda Myojin Shrine collaborates Love Live, the Akihabara Shrine engages with local Akihabara culture. This May, the Akihabara Shrine inaugurated underground idol group Kamen Joshi as miko. They currently have special collaboration omamori and prayer plaques.

 

 

According to its official website, the shrine recognizes the importance of traditional Japanese culture and that Akihabara has become a sacred place for otaku and a hub for Japanese subculture. Though still a relatively young Shinto shrine, the Akihabara Shrine brings together the “traditional” and the swirling pop and subcultures of Akihabara.

 

Information

ShopNameAkihabara Shrine
Address〒101-0021 Tokyo, 千代田区Sotokanda, 1−6−1 外神田ビル
Tel
Urlhttp://akihabarashrine.jp/about.html
Time10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Regular holiday
Budget$
Other
Key
= English OK
= Smoking OK
= Vegetarian Menu
= WIFI Available
= Credit Cards Accepted
Zeb Teckto

Zeb Teckto

Contributing Writer
Writer and observer in Tokyo. In the search for the ultimate anime startup.
Zeb Teckto