[Ryugu Shrine]

As the Otaru Showroom has successfully started its operations for the new year, I paid a visit to Ryugu Shrine, which we had wanted to visit for a long time, although it was a little late for a New Year's visit. Since this year is the Year of the Dragon, the Ryujin Fire Festival, a commemorative event held once every 12 years, was held on New Year's Day, and the place was very lively. The shrine grounds were very quiet and the beautiful shrine pavilions standing firm in the still air made my spine straightened.

Ryugu Shrine is located in Inaho-cho, Otaru City, and was founded by Takeaki Enomoto, who was the Hokkaido Development Commissioner. The name Inaho-cho is said to be a corruption of "Inau," an Ainu ritual implement, and it is said to have been a place where the Ainu people used to hold their festivals. It is said that Takeaki Enomoto established a small shrine dedicated to his distant ancestor, Emperor Kammu, at the site, and in 1876, he dedicated a plaque with the inscription "Hokkai Chingo" to the shrine to serve as a base for new immigrants to the area. The crisp characters of the Takeaki calligraphy are impressive. The name "Ryugu Shrine" was first coined when the Ryugu Kyokai branch office, then located in Esashi Town, was relocated to this location in 1887, and the small shrine was enshrined together and renamed "Ryugu Palace"; the name was changed to "Ryugu Shrine" in 1898. I was fascinated by the splendid carving of the Dragon God on the shrine plaque displayed in the shrine building.

In recent years, the shrine has also become a hot topic of conversation, as Taro Aso was appointed prime minister one month after visiting the shrine, attributing his appointment to the "blessings of the god of the Dragon Palace, who, like a rising dragon, brings good fortune and prosperity to the country. The visit to the shrine was in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the death of Takeaki Enomoto, and there is an episode that Aso, a descendant of Toshimichi Okubo, a leading figure in the new government forces, visited the shrine dedicated to Takeaki Enomoto, a general of the former shogunate forces, and said that it was "the 100th year of reconciliation" for him.

I think the view of the Otaru shrine on top of the hill is very nice, where you can see the sea a little further away, which spreads out when you huff and puff after climbing the stairs and look back. Ishikari Bay peeked out at me at Ryugu Shrine as well. I would like to visit again when the snow melts and the greenery becomes more vibrant. Also, the red ink stamp is very beautiful, so I recommend it to those who like to collect them.

Ryugu Shrine
Otaru Showroom