You could call it the main shrine of Mito. Tokiwa Jinja attracts a lot of visitors during the plum festival which started on the 20th February and lasts until the end of March. It’s also the place where we went for the New Year’s celebration and where the plum wine festival will be held in a few days.
It is a mid sized shrine, but it is the biggest one in Mito. I think this is the reason, why it attracts so many visitors. It is also confinement located right next to Kairakuen. The stairs go down until they reach the train station. Or you can look at it the other way: you can walk up to the shrine from the train. The train station is, however, only operational during the festivities in Kairakuen.
The main building of Tokiwa Jinja. There is a line of people who are waiting to pray. Usually this is only the case on major celebrations. As Kairakuen is currently quite crowded, people also come to the close by shrine.
From a bit further away, a view on the main building. Shinto shrines have these characteristic gates, which you can also find as a pictogram on maps.
The reverse view from the main shrine. In the area in front of the entrance, various street vendors are present, on the occasion of Ume matsuri.
A view on one of the side buildings of the shrine.
The stage, which is occasionally used for celebrations, like on New Year’s is showcase to a few Hina dolls. (Another post about these is coming soon, as part of another shrine.)
This gate leads to another much smaller shrine. It is quite common to have a few smaller ones accompanying the main ones.
The red gates reminded me a lot about Kyoto, that’s why I took another picture.
I think this is a fox, but I am not sure. It is next to the smaller shrine.
Currently there is a booth selling various kinds of Ume bonsai trees. It is one of the local export goods.
The cheepest ones already start at about 1000 yen, but my black thumb would not do them very well. I like how they look though.