Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine is described as the oldest shrine in area. That is likely true, but the current shrine was rebuilt several times due to fires,caused by volcanic eruptions, and the main shrine was moved to its current location in 1974 - thus being the “oldest” needs to be tempered with this additional information. There is a sign at the shrine indication that this is an Important Cultural Property of Japan at it current location and showing that this is Mt. Fuji World Cultural Heritage Site Asset. In fact, this shrine is still considered to be the beginning of the climb up Fuji and climbers come here to pray before setting out.
When we visited, even in peak sakura season, the grounds were quite empty. There were only a few other visitors though we saw several people leaving just as we arrived. This was a pleasant respite from the crowds everywhere else in Kawaguchiko on this peak weekend.
Sengen Shrines are dedicated to the Shinto deity, Princess Konohanasakuya, who is described as the goddess of cherry blossoms. It is no wonder that in peak sakura season when we visited the shrine the blossoms were stunning. From the bus stop walk up the steep lantern lined path to shrine itself. The red and white buildings stand out against the tall evergreens. Throughout the area are ancient sakura which were in full bloom. From the road opposite the bus stop you can see the cherry trees lining the property - a lovely site to photo whilst waiting for the bus.
Some amazing sculptures were scattered in the grounds. A reclining cow is in easy reach and we watched some visitors petting it. Across from the cow is a complex sculpture of two intertwined dragons. We spent some time photoing it and trying to figure out which parts belonged to which dragon. The large guardian dogs at the opposite end were nicely framed by splendid overhanging sakura in full bloom.
If you look down the long processional you can see Fuji from one end of the compound to the torii at the other.
Before you leave, go to the park across the street from the entrance. There are excellent views of Fuji if you look between the buildings lining the roadway.
Take the Retro/sightseeing bus for Lake Saiko (Lake Saiko/Aokigahara Circuit - green bus route) and get off at the Fuji Omuro Sengen Jinja Bus Stop.
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