Yakyu Inari Shrine
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Famous baseball shrine and peony garden
They call this the baseball shrine, because the Japanese for baseball is Yakyu. In fact, the Yakyu of the shrine's name actually refers to an arrow. However, the shrine has made good use out of the pun and secured its position as the baseball shrine. Baseball players visit the shrine to pray for a good season and baseball fans visit it to pick up some of their unique baseball bat amulets.
They have regular prayer plaques (絵馬 ema) at this shrine as well as ones in the shape of a baseball. You write your wish or prayer on the baseball bat and hang it in the dedicated spot. They have a choice of the amulets, including the baseball ones. Apart from the connection to baseball, the shrine is worth a visit if you are in the area to see the engravings and embossing on the shrine itself. There are some very detailed dragon carvings on the exterior. You can read about them in both Japanese and English on information plaques around the shrine. Another reason to visit are the beautiful pine trees and in spring the peonies, azalia and wisteria. One other point of interest is the giant prayer plaque they display each year with the Chinese calendar animal of the year, this year (2016) it is a monkey. The street entrance to the shrine has a magificent giant red torii.
The shrine is close to Higashimatsuyama station, about a 2 or 3 minute walk. There is parking for about 20 cars all year round and during the peak period in April for the peony garden, they have two overflow car parks. Parking is free.
2-5-14 Yakyūchō, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0028