The Togakushi shrine is an important Shinto shrine in Nagano prefecture. The shrine is divided in three locations, of which the Oku-sha or upper shrine, has the highest elevation. Access to the upper shrine requires a gentle uphill walk of about one hour. The path to the shrine is lined with giant Sugi trees and the surrounding ancient forest might very well be the home of many spirits.
The Togakushi middle shrine (Chu-Sha) enshrines the God of wisdom. Among the Togakushi shrines, it is located in the midway between the lower and upper shrines. All of the Togakushi shrines, which are about two kilometers apart, are connected via hiking trails and roads.
The middle shrine is located above a pleasant town where the culinary speciality of Nagano prefecture, buckwheat noodles (soba), may be enjoyed at the local restaurant. It is especially recommended as a light and refreshing meal after a long and hot summer day!
The Togakushi shrines are a group of three shrine areas located in the mountainous region north of Nagano. They got their name from being situated at the base of Mount Togakushi.
The one called the lower shrine (Hōkō-sha) is located at a lower altitude compared to the other two. It enshrines a female God protecting maternity, academic life and sewing!
Interestingly, a long time ago, the Togakushi shrines were also Buddhist temples as it was common in ancient Japan.