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Usa Jingu Shrine

The head shrine of the god of archery and war is one of the biggest of its kind, with three distinct areas to explore.

While you’ll find a lot of shrines in Japan dedicated to the Shinto gods of rice, marriage, and business fortune, Usa Jingu is a little more hardcore. Enshrined here is the god of war, Hachiman. In fact, this is the head temple of all those dedicated to him in Japan.

The main hall — designated as a National Treasure — is the first to have been built in the Hachiman-zukuri style of architecture, particular to the shrines which celebrate this god: two halls connected by one roof. In the grounds, you’ll also be able to explore the upper complex, lower complex, auxiliary buildings, and treasure hall.

As far as shrines go, this one really is quite expansive, so if you want to take it all in fully then set aside at least an hour to meander around the grounds. Afterwards, head to the west exit toward the street vendors peddling souvenirs and street food to pilgrims on their way to pray.

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