Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ikuta Shrine and Kitano Cho Area, Kobe

Close to Kobe Mosque in Kitano Cho area, Kobe - Japan, there is a beautiful red shrine named after Ikuta Shrine. Kitano cho itself is one of tourism area in Kobe city, Japan. From Wikipedia, it is said that Ikuta Shrine (生田神社 Ikuta-jinja) is a Shinto shrine in the Chūō Ward of Kobe, Japan, and is possibly among the oldest shrines in the country.

Ikuta Shrine, Kobe

According to Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan, the second oldest book of classical Japanese history), Ikuta shrine was founded by the Empress Jingū at the beginning of the 3rd century AD to enshrine the kami Wakahirume, and was used as the base for a festival welcoming warriors back from the latest attempt to invade Korea.

It was one of three shrines established at this time; the others are Hirota Shrine, dedicated to Amaterasu, and Nagata Shrine, dedicated to Kotoshiro-nushi (also known as Ebisu).

The gate of Ikuta shrine
During the Genpei War, parts of the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani took place in and around this shrine, and are commemorated by markers in the Ikuta forest behind the shrine. Of course, the shrine's land was much larger back then, before the city of Kobe was built around it. Thus, the precise locations of skirmishes or events can no longer be commemorated on shrine land.

As a Muslim, we just visit this place for recreation only. Because of this place close to Kobe mosque. When we have time to visit mosque, we also visit the shrine while walking around the mosque and Kitano area.

Kitano-cho (北野町, Kitanochō) is a city district at the foot of the Rokko mountain range where many foreign merchants and diplomats settled after the Port of Kobe was opened to foreign trade in the second half of the 19th century. More than a dozen of the former mansions, known as Ijinkan, remain in the area and are open to the public as museums.

Most of the houses charge an admission fee of between 300 to 500 yen, while combination tickets are available to see multiple houses. The entire district is pleasant to walk through and offers a variety of cafes, restaurants and boutiques, making it a favorite among young Japanese couples.

If you have time to visit Kobe mosque, just walk around it, you'll find Ikuta shrine and other interesting places there such as NHK tower and international houses. For more details you can download the guide map of Kitano Cho Tourism Area here.

A sign to Ikuta Shrine close to Kobe Mosque

A sign to enter Kitano Meister Garden
The (tourism?) bus from Kitano meister garden

Sign to some tourism places close to Kobe mosque

sources: Wikipedia, Japan-guide
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