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Historic shrine that inspired famous song and features in the Tales of Ise
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There is a song that almost all Japanese people know and sing called "To-ryanse", but most people outside the area don't know that it is based on this otherwise plain shrine in Kawagoe. The shrine also features in the Tales of Ise, a Japanese uta monogatari, or collection of waka poems and associated narratives, dating from the Heian period. The shrine itself isn't anything special to look at, but the history is fascinating.
The shrine was established in 807. Miyoshino means "sacred beautiful wide land" and it is said at that time it fitted the scenery of the site. The shrine has looked a bit shabby the last few years, but they have hoarders up at the moment and it would seem that it is getting a long overdue lick of paint. The long path leading to the shrine looks particularly beautiful in spring with the torii and the cherry blossoms. The temple is dedicated to the brain. There are two large picnic tables on one side of the shrine and close by there is a small restaurant that sells snacks and udon. The shrine has a great playground for toddlers on its grounds, but they are officially under the management of Hatsukari Park, a sports ground at the back of the shrine. Across the road is the famous remains of Kawagoe castle, Honmaru Goten.
Access is free and the parking immediately at the back of the shrine is free. That car park is almost always full because it is free, but there are 2 more car parks nearby that are charged. The shrine is on the tourist bus route which stops at Honmaru Goten.