李桃桃内 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Nakamura Hachiman Shrine

A local shrine in Nerima

李桃桃内 / CC BY-SA 4.0
Sleiman Azizi   - 3 min read

Located in Nerima City, exactly midway between the Seibu Ikebukuro and Seibu Shinjuku Lines, lies Nakamura Hachiman Shrine. Surrounded as it is by homes in a residential neighbourhood, the shrine is very much off the tourist map.

Nakamura Hachiman Shrine was once the local shrine for Nakamura village before becoming a betto-ji - 'separate' temple - where, under the custom that saw Shinto and Buddhism coexisting, the overseeing and management of a Shinto shrine was given over to a local Buddhist temple. In practice, this often meant that the shrine would be found on temple grounds.

Torii entrance gate to the shrine
Torii entrance gate to the shrine (Photo: Kamemaru2000 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

A simple stone torii gate welcomes the visitor and while there is not much in the way of extravagance to be found here, the space offered by the grounds suggest a local, but solid history. The honden main building of the shrine was built in the late 18th century and is actually one of the oldest structures still standing in Nerima City. To the left of the main building you'll find the haiden worship hall. Despite appearing similar in ageing and weathering, the haiden was built in the mid-19th century, almost a century later.

Chozuya water ablution well at the shrine
Chozuya water ablution well at the shrine (Photo: 李桃桃内 / CC BY-SA 4.0)

The age of the buildings here is reflected in the details of their design. Flecks of red remain from the original colouring while the roofing, crossbeams, eaves and supports all reflect traditional Japanese architectural techniques. Leading up to the buildings are a pair of komainu guardian statues and a couple of stone lanterns. The shide zigzag paper streamers attached to the shimenawa sacred ropes attached to the building only add to sense of local tradition here.

A simple and unpretentious shrine, Nakamura Hachiman Shrine is very much a local experience.

Getting there

Take the Seibu Ikebukuro Line to Nakamurabashi Station for a 12-minute walk from the South Exit. Alternatively, take the Seibu Shinjuku Line to Saginomiya Station for a 12-minute walk from the North Exit.

Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

I'm a Japanese Permanent Resident with over 600 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books inspired by traditional Japanese literature.I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, so if you've anything to say about Japan's never ending capital - or just Japan in general - don't b...