Mitsumine Shrine

Mitsumine Shrine, Chichibu

Mitsumine Shrine
4.5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
About
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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ANI_TOKYO
Nishitokyo, Japan261 contributions
Great view and quiet place, you must go if you want to see the traditional shrine near by Tokyo.
Nov 2019 • Family
とても有名ですが今まで訪問したことがなかった場所でした。 秋に行くのがお勧めです。紅葉の美しさが素晴らしいのです。

It’s a quite famous but I haven’t there before.
Great view in Autumn with colorful leaves there and the road side.
Amazing landscape but you should be carefully about Bears.
Very good hiking route and standing view at the mountain.
Access is not so bad from Tokyo, bullet train from Ikebukuro to Chichibu, then change the line to Chichibu line and taking local train for Mitsumine Fuchi.
Then taking bus to there.
It’s a bit long trip but view from the window is so nice.
Long history is behind the place, and also not too many visitors like Takai-san Mt.
Written November 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

altair06
Chiba, Japan83 contributions
Mountain Shrine
Feb 2019 • Friends
This shrine is literally on a mountain and a kick-off point of some serious hiking on the Chichibu area. We went here on a day tour for the icicles and this was included in the itinerary. Highlights include the Haiden (main worship hall), the white torii, Shigetada-sugi tree (800 yrs old, do not forgot to touch it!), the zuishinmon (shrine gate) and the Youhaiden (the pavillion overlooking the Chichibu area. I would suggest spending the whole day here, because the shrine is really part of huge complex especially if you are commuting by train+bus. Driving would be more convenient but not necessary. There is a restaurant on the shrine grounds serving delicious local snacks. The shrine has no entrance fee even if I think the level/detail of shrine design is same as with those in Nikko.
Written February 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Retron
Leysdown-on-Sea, UK120 contributions
Even better the second time around!
Oct 2017 • Friends
I visited Mitsumine at the end of 2016 with a friend and we both thoroughly enjoyed our time there. This year we were back in Tokyo and we both wanted to go back - not least because we missed part of the shrine (the old part of it) and the shops and museum were closed in December.

In the intervening months it seems that Mitsumine has been featured on a TV programme in Japan, as a "power spot". As a result, visitor numbers have gone up - which means you have to be quick off the mark if you're taking the rickety old bus to the shrine.

As with last year, we went from Ikebukuro to Chichibu on the Seibu-Chichibu line. The tourist office has closed at Ikebukuro (they helped last year with filling in the train ticket forms), but luckily said forms are now in English as well as Japanese. The bus still leaves from the Chichibu train station, but this time there was a long queue awaiting us - unlike last time where we were the only ones heading for the shrine as we got off the train.

Luckily, we were able to get seats on the bus (it's a 75-minute ride), but there were several people who had to stand throughout. More people got on as the bus stopped en route to the shrine.

This time upon arrival at the shrine we both went straight past everything and headed west - for beyond the hotel, there's a path leading to the original old shrine. Unlike the new shrine (which is very fancy, colourful and dedicated to the founders of Japan), the old shrine is much more modest - and is the shrine which is dedicated to the wolf said to have guided the prince through the forest nearly 2000 years ago.

The old shrine has plenty of wolf statues around it (and plenty more inside), along with offerings of sake and such placed there by worshippers. It was well worth the visit!

The new shrine itself was just as before - splendid in every way and clearly fondly looked after. The guardian wolf statues had new bibs and there were different votive tablets (ema) for sale at the shrine shop. This time I picked up some of the new year ceremonial arrows, as well as some ema, another ofuda and some little wooden wolf charms (with bells).

Unlike last time, the museum and main wolf gift shop was open.

The museum is fascinating. It contains several pelts of wolves (including a Honshu wolf from Chichibu), as well as all sorts of things from the shrine in years gone by. There's also a story board explaining how the shrine was founded. It's all in Japanese, with pretty much no English whatsoever, but it's still well worth a visit. The only downside is that photography isn't allowed, so you'll have to make do with the museum's pamphlet.

The wolf shop was well worth visiting. It's the only place in Japan that stocks so much wolf merchandise, as far as I'm aware, and aside from some rather overpriced soft toy wolves the rest of it was unique. I've been to wolf centres across the States, Canada, France, Spain and the UK - and most of the items on sale at Mitsumine were unique. They had laser-etched crystal replicas of the shrine (and wolf guardians), little glass wolves and pawprints, lots of types of sake - and glasses - a Japanese-style pen set, enamel badges and lots more besides. I spent a small fortune there, something not lost on the lady who served me - she disappeared for a bit, then came back with a carrier bag full of small square bits of paper. "Origami, tanabata", she said. She gave the bag to me, as a gift, meaning I've now got enough bits of paper to make a whole mass of origami wolves!

Having seen how busy the bus was on the way out, we decided to get to the bus queue 25 minutes early for the way back. There was already quite a queue and we were lucky to get seats.

It seems that Mitsumine has become more popular than before, so if you plan to visit there are a few things to bear in mind:

* The museum and wolf shop are closed for the winter period - December to March.
* They're also closed every Tuesday.
* The shrine is more popular than ever, so be prepared to get to the bus stop at least 20 minutes before the bus is due to arrive. This is much harder to do on the way out if you're coming from Tokyo!
* Weekdays are quieter than weekends, but there are fewer buses running.
* Avoid the 1st of the month unless you really like queueing - special talismans/charms are given away and the queues are astronomical these days! 3km or more of queues aren't unheard of, meaning it'll take you hours and hours just to get to the shrine.
Written October 29, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Luis R
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico12 contributions
Visit Mitsumine Jinja on 10 October 2017
Oct 2017
A very spiritual place. The scenery, history and the different monuments and shrines within..unique.
Written October 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Keizo
Kawasaki, Japan1,493 contributions
Very quiet and beautiful shrine in the wood
Sep 2017 • Solo
It is located in the upper mountainside so takes long time to reach there.
About one hour and half by rapid express from Ikebukuro to Seibu Chichibu of Seibu Ikebukuro Line and then one hour 15 minutes by express bus. You should take seats in the car number 1 of the rapid express '' Red Arrow'' which is the closest to the station exit and be prepared to dash to the Bus waiting line. The shrine is more and more popular after having appeared on TV so even in weekdays there are many visitors and if you are unlucky you have to stand 75 minutes in the bus. You can enjoy good scenery and the beautiful shrine.I liked the shrine very much.
Written September 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Retron
Leysdown-on-Sea, UK120 contributions
A mountain shrine dedicated to wolves
Dec 2016 • Friends
Legend has it the shrine was founded nearly 2000 years ago, after a prince was guided through the mountains by a white wolf. Wolves were revered in Japan up to a few hundred years ago, and this shrine is the biggest wolf shrine in Japan. It's well-known and is a popular tourist destination.

It requires quite a journey to get to - a train ride from Ikebukuro in Tokyo to Chichibu, then a rattly old bus from Chichibu to Mitsumine. There are only a few buses a day. The journey takes around three hours each way. (Side note: there's a hotdog and chips vending machine at Chichibu's station - the only one I saw in my week in Japan!)

When you arrive at the shrine, the first thing you'll see is the triple torii entrance gate - guarded by two wolves. Beyond the gate is a statue of the founder (up a hill), along with a wonderful viewpoint over the mountains. Heading the other way takes you past an ornate Zuishinmon gate (with more wolves) and a set of steps up to the main shrine (you guessed it, with even more wolves!)

The main shrine is breathtakingly beautiful, with primary-coloured wood and brass or gold highlights glinting in the sun. When I visited, there was a ceremony going on (involving drumming and chanting), so I wasn't able to see much of the inside. Not that that mattered, as there's more than enough to see outside.

There are ancillary shrines, as well as some other buildings. There's also a hotel, which doubles as a shop for shrine-related merchandise. There are also some several hundred-year-old trees which are believed to infuse you with power; the bark of these has worn smooth where people have rubbed them.

It takes around an hour to amble around the shrine at a decent pace, although you could manage it in half the time if you rushed. There's an old shrine further along the mountain path, but I didn't visit it as I wasn't entirely sure how far away it was!

The shrine was quiet (despite a good number of visitors) and it was very tranquil. As someone who's interested in wolves, I very much enjoyed seeing the various statues dotted around the site - and I know I missed quite a few, as there are more at the older portion of the shrine.

I purchased a few bits and pieces from the shrine's shop, a decorative ema (good luck tablet), featuring a carving from the shrine, as well as what turned out to be a protective talisman (it says "Mitsumine shrine" in Kanji).

The only downside was that, being the off-season, the museum was closed. This has some history of the shrine and the (now-extinct) Honshu wolf, along with apparently a well-stocked wolfy gift shop.

I would highly recommend a visit to the shrine if you happen to be visiting Tokyo. Not only is the scenery breath-taking, but the shrine itself is stunning. If you're interested in wolves, as I am, then it's a must-see place!
Written January 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Erik T
Rusutsu-mura, Japan265 contributions
Very nice, but perfect after mountain climbing
Feb 2016 • Solo
It's long and difficult to reach even from Chichibu, not to mention any other town. BUT! If you can devote a whole day for this trip, it's totally worth it. I like hiking and cheap fun, so it was obvious for me to walk from the closest train station and walk (5-6 km on asphalt road then 3+ km climbing the steep mountain, I can help you in planning). I knew that some shrine will wait for me on the top, but this huge and amazing complex far exceeded my expectations. Its colorful ornamental facade was breathtaking just as the landscape from the terrace and the parking lot.
Written March 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Risa S
Sydney31 contributions
Mitsumine Shrine
Jan 2016 • Friends
About 70min ride on the bus from the station, but it was worth it with the great mountain views, beautiful and colourful shrine decorations, historical buildings and lots of stone monuments that indicate who & how much money people & companies had donated to the shrine lol!

We wished they had more shops/restaurants because we had to use up the waiting time for the next bus to come; they only come once per 2hrs...
Written January 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

corbie777
Halifax, MA22 contributions
Beautiful walk in the mountains
Oct 2014 • Friends
This was a beautiful area to explore in the fall. The temple was beautiful and we got to hear traditional music being played. A beautiful mountain and forest retreat to explore.
Written August 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

hashihime
Kalamazoo, MI175 contributions
Long bus ride but worth it
Dec 2014 • Solo
The last stop on the Chichibu line train is "Mitsumine guchi" (entrance to Mitsumine) so I thought it was close. The shrine is another 1.5 hour bus ride at least. If you are frightened of curvy roads with sharp drop offs, the ride is not for you. The shrine is way up in the mountains, a beautiful setting, and in winter way colder than down in Chichibu city. I went in the afternoon, not knowing how long the trip was. A station master (who also served me tea!) told me it was best to go in the morning, to give you more time at the shrine, before it got dark.
Written January 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Mitsumine Shrine

Mitsumine Shrine is open:
  • Sun - Sat 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

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