Yotsuya Suga shrine and Animation pilgrimage(四谷須賀神社とアニメ聖地巡礼)

Suga shrine has been worshipped by the residents in eighteen towns of Yotsuya (in Tokyo) from the early Edo period because it enshrined the guardian God of the town. Susanoo no mikoto and Ukanomitama no mikoto are enshrined as a shusaijin (main enshrined deities) there.

One day in April of 2019 I went for a historical walk with an old map of a guidebook along the koshu-kido Road from Yotsuya station. On the way I turned on a road and went down a hill, and then I saw some stairs at the bottom of the hill. There was a stone monument, on which the name of Suga shrine is engraved, beside the stairs. My guidebook says that these stairs weren’t there in the Edo period, so you should turn right and go on the old road to the shrine. That is the correct way as a historical walk. So I turned right and walked on the old road to the shrine without going up the stairs.

Within the Suga shrine grounds a lot of green trees and remaining cherry blossoms were so beautiful that I felt refreshed. However, I didn’t know why but I felt somewhat strange.

I saw many young foreign visitors and young women visiting alone. There was a unique atmosphere that I had never felt at other shrines. Of course they prayed at the shrine, but at the same time they took many pictures at the bottom, at the middle, and at the top of the stairs instead of the shrine and the Torii gate. Those scenes seemed strange to me.

I realized later that the stairs which I deliberately didn’t go up was one of the real-life locations of the animation movie “Your Name”. Japanese animation is so popular in the world that a lot of fans visited there to see the real-life location (Animation pilgrimage) not only from all over Japan but also foreign countries.

I didn’t take any pictures of the stairs by myself, so I posted two pictures of them which I found online for reference.