Hanazono Shrine – Another Side of Shinjuku
Hanazono Shrine in the heart of Shinjuku is well worth a visit.
Hidden between the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, close to the nightlife district of Kabukicho, the discreet Hanazono Shrine invites calm and meditation in an otherwise unrelenting urban environment. Host to numerous festivals and with a rich history, Hanazono is certainly worth checking out if you’re in Shinjuku.
Hanazono Shrine Overview
Hanazono Shrine (trans. Flower Garden Shrine) was first established in the mid-17th century but has undergone countless redevelopments and expansions throughout its long history. Although many of these changes have been largely cosmetic, the biggest overhaul of the shrine came in the wake of the firebombing campaigns of WWII, which sadly destroyed large parts of the complex.
During Shinjuku’s heyday as Tokyo’s premier center for the counterculture in the 1960s/70s, Hanazono became an ad hoc stage for artists and performers to experiment and test their work on the public. Although at the time the authorities had little patience for these avant-gardists, today, the time is fondly remembered and recreated through occasional live shows and events at the site. Although less radically spontaneous as the originals, be sure to catch a performance if you can.
A number of important festivals are celebrated at Hanazono Shrine throughout the year, although Hanazono Shrine Festival is undoubtedly the biggest and most popular.
Hanazono Shrine Festival
The Hanazono Shrine festival is held in the last week of May and is famous for its Mikoshi (portable shrine) parade. The shrine, weighing 1.5 tons, is toured through the surrounding streets, carried by the labor of groups of festivalgoers and is an impressive sight to behold.
Address: 5-17-3 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku
Telephone: +81 03-3209-5265
Getting to Hanazono Shrine
5-minute walk from Shinjuku-sanchôme Station (B3 and B5 exit)
Duration Of Visit
30 minutes is enough.
Period Of Visit
All year. Open 24/7.