Author: Richard Perkins
Photos/Videos Taken: 2021/05/18
Address: 80-1 Motohakone,
In the city of Hakone, Kanagawa prefecture lies 箱根神社 (hakone jinja). Built back in the year 757, this is a Shintō shrine that was built by a holy priest by the name of Mangan. This particular shrine worships the deities 瓊瓊杵尊 (ninigi-no-mikoto), 木花咲耶姫命 (konohanasakuya-hime), and 彦火火出見尊 (hikohohodemi-no-mikoto).
Hakone Shrine was originally built as a shrine where Buddhist monks, who were part of 修験道 (shugendō—a religion that involves finding supernatural powers, saving oneself and the masses through various religious-based training in mountains), trained themselves. Seeing as shugendō was part of 神仏習合 (shinbutsu-shūgō), a time when the Buddhist and Shintō religion was mixed into one religion until the 神仏分離 (shinbutsu bunri) when the order of the Buddhist and Shintō religion was to be separated in the Meiji period, Hakone Shrine wasn’t just an ordinary Shintō shrine.
In the Kamakura period (1185-1333) Minamoto no Yoritomo—founder of the first 将軍 (shōgun—military general) of the Kamakura shogunate (feudal government)—greatly embraced Hakone shrine. In Japan, there’s a tradition known as 初詣 (hatsumōde), which involves visiting a Shintō shrine or Buddhist temple at the beginning of the New Year. Minamoto no Yoritomo visited both Hakone shrine and Izusan shrine (Shizuoka prefecture) at the beginning of the New Year. This started what’s known as 二所詣 (nishomōde), visiting two Shintō shrines or Buddhist temples at the beginning of the New Year.
This is 曽我神社 (soga jinja), a small Shintō shrine built on the grounds of Hakone shrine. The deities of this shrine are the Soga brothers 曽我十郎祐成之命 (soga sukenari-no-mikoto) and 曽我五朗時致之命 (soga tokimune-no-mikoto). The Soga Brothers were warriors (better known as samurai) back in the Kamakura period who are well-known for avenging the death of their father.
This is 龍神水 (ryūshinsui), water that when drunk is said to have the divine favor of bringing two people together.