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Climb the Staircase of Success at Atago Shrine

When Atago Shrine (愛宕神社) was built in 1603, it was the highest spot in old Tokyo. Times have changed, and now you have to visit Tokyo Tower in Minato Ward to get a decent view of the city, but the shrine is still very popular. The main attraction for the locals is the very steep stone staircase leading to the shrine.

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It is called Shussei no Ishiden, which means «Stone Steps to Success». The young samurai Magaki Heikurou rode his horse up them in order to deliver a plum-blossom branch to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. This deed provided him with an excellent future career.

Climbing and praying at Atago Shrine is said to guarantee good fortune in your career, so many Japanese visit every day.

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People also come to pray to the main deity of the shrine, God of fire Homusubi no Mikoto to prevent fires, or just to enjoy the peaceful pond.

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Festivals in Atago Shrine are held twice a year: on 22-24th September (Omikoshi are carried up and down) and on 23-24th June (Sen Nichi Mairi, the Festival of 1000 days). Chinese lantern plants, Hozuki, are sold at the Sen Nichi Mairi, so it is also called Hozuki-ichi.

The steep front hill is called Otokozaka, or a Man’s hill, and the gentle slope at the side is Onnazaka, or a Woman’s hill.

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Information

Atago Shrine (愛宕神社)
Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Atago 1-5-3
Access: 5 min. walk from Onarimon st. or Kamiyacho st.
Distance to airport: About 14 km from Haneda Airport

By Olga Kaneda

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