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Miyamasumitake Shrine is a treasure in the Shibuya jungle

I’ve always liked Tokyo’s hidden treasures.  You can walk along a street of modern buildings, and between them will be an old temple or shrine.  It can be surprising when it happens, but it’s not unusual.  One such example is in Shibuya.

Miyamasumitake Shrine and courtyard

That one is called Miyamasumitake Shrine.  It is not far from the station.   Walk up nearby Miyamasuzaka (“Miyamasu Hill”), and you’ll find it.

kitsune fox statue and lantern at Miyamasumitake Shrine

It is pretty easy to miss, though.  The entrance is squeezed between big buildings.  If you don’t look around while walking, you could miss it entirely.  You could keep going up the hill and pass it by entirely.  Many people do that.  

I used to teach in Shibuya.  When I talked about this Miyamasumitake Shrine to my students, some had no idea it existed.  And that was even with my school only a couple of minutes’ walk away.

Miyamasumitake Shrine buildings_

But, if you find your way to it and make your way up a long and reasonably steep set of stairs, you’ll be at the entrance. There isn’t much to see, as the surrounding area is starting to show its age.  Luckily, some areas of Miyamasuzaka are undergoing redevelopment. 

Miyamasumitake Shrine with large buildings next door

It is just the standard shrine complex, well-kept but tiny. It has a rock garden, so be careful to stick to the path! What I love about it is looking up and seeing the surrounding buildings dwarf it on three sides. If you turn around, you’ll see Shibuya Hikarie soaring into the sky.

It’s nice to know that these small, beautiful shrines still exist in Japan.  They contrast the old and new.  It’s a small shrine against the large urban buildings.  They are oasis secluded tranquility in the busy city.

people walking on Miyamasuzaka

If you are ever in Shibuya, you should drop into Miyamasumite Shrine to check it out.  It is a treasure.  Any visit will be short, but it will be worth it for any photographer.

Temizuya and torri gate at Miyamasumitake Shrine

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