The Shrine of Emperor Meiji, Hokkaido Shrine
No visit to Japan would be complete without visiting a shrine. Hokkaido Shrine is one of the oldest shinto shrine constructed in 1871, and enshrines the sould of Emperor Meiji. Located at Maruyama Park, it is the main Shrine of Hokkaido and a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. It was time to get our yearly blessing. So right after the Sapporo Curb Market, we made a trip down to Hokkaido Shrine. It is a 15 minutes walk from Maruyama Koen Station to Hokkaido Shrine.
For some reason we had too much green tea earlier on and we needed to pee. We were so happy as the toilet was right at the entrance to Maruyama Park. But guess what, they removed the taps in winter to conserve water. WHAT THE ACTUAL F? So the Japanese don’t wash their hands after peeing in winter. We can’t stand the thought of not washing our hands, so we grab some snow, melted it into water and briefly washed our hands. This was one hell of an experience.
There was nothing much to see in the park, except snow covered trees and walkways. But we enjoyed the walk in the park because of the freezing cold weather. The frozen lake was beautiful, and we goofed around the area and played with snow.
We saw many other tourists having fun building snowmen. And so she said, “do you want to build a snowman?” And yeah we started our own construction too. Picked up random branches and maple leaves from the ground and made our own snowman!
Hokkaido Shrine in Maruyama Park
There were directions leading to the shrine from the park. In fact, you’ll not miss the huge-ass torii gate indicating the shrine’s entrance. We wanted to take a photo of this gate without any bystanders, but it was impossible. Everyone was just streaming by and there was no chance to get a clear shot.
Along the way there are food stalls and we thought we could get some snacks. However it seems like all the stalls were closed. Pretty sure they weren’t even open in the first place in this season. We explored the nearby smaller shrines before going to the main area.
Oh boy the main shrine was crowded. We didn’t enter the shrine because of the sheer number of tourists. We spent our time walking around and taking pictures outside the shrine instead. At almost all Japanese shrines and temples, there’d be a rack for people to write their wishes on ema plagues and hang them. We found out that there was a Rilakkuma design right here! Minmin’s favorite! I wanted to get one to write and hang, and one to keep. But Minmin disallowed me from wasting money.
Right after this, we’ll be taking a bus down to the Okura-yama Ski Jump Stadium to check it out!
Information About Hokkaido Shrine
Address: 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0959, Japan
Opening Hours: 7.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily
Nearest Subway Station: Maruyama Koen Station
Recommended Duration: 2 hours