You won’t find torii shrine gates like this anywhere else.
The neighboring prefectures of Tokyo are sometimes neglected by tourists who favor the bright lights and the bustle of the capital. These places are definitely worth exploring on a day trip, as there are plenty of unique treasures to be found tucked away in pockets of serene nature tucked away well off the beaten track.
In Chiba Prefecture, for example, about two and a half hours from Tokyo Station by car or train, is a rare place where you can worship the sunrise before others on the mainland, excluding those located at the top of the mountains.
The place is Chobokuri Inari Shrine, situated in Choshi City on a small hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma made the trip there recently, after a friend told him there was something there that he couldn’t see anywhere else.
▼ After a five-minute bike ride from Tokawa Station, the terminal station of the Choshi Electric Railway, a red torii gate signaled Masanuki to enter a seemingly mysterious forest.
As the lush greenery engulfed the light, Masanuki felt like stepping into another world, the path leading him to an unknown place.
After stepping out to the other side of the forest and into a clearing, Masanuki blinked in the light, wondering what sort of strange world he had entered.
?? “Is it… a fish looking at me?” “
Masanuki approached the giant fish cautiously, half expecting him to speak to her and give her some wise words of wisdom.
Masanuki cleared his mind, in case the big bream decided to communicate with him telepathically. Sea bream like this, or “tai” as they are called in Japan, are considered auspicious, so Masanuki chose to view her as a benevolent beast, despite being tied up by ropes as for stop it. to swim violently towards visitors.
The fish kept an eye on Masanuki the entire time as he slowly walked towards the front of the doors, and that’s when Masanuki’s gaze fell on …a sardine and a saury.
Until then, Masanuki had resisted the urge to search for the place, but now he was compelled to find out what was going on here. Why the hell were there fish taking the place of the horizontal beams on those torii gates?
Each fish was about six meters (19.7 feet) long.
▼ And to top it off there was Congress rising on either side of the front door.
After doing some research online, Masanuki found that this place is considered the best place in Japan to catch fish, where various fish can be caught all year round. What is less well known is the fact that at the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1867), a fisherman named Chokuro fell in love with the sea around Choshi and built a shrine here in the hope of a big catch. and wish the prosperity of his descendants.
Well, his hopes for a big take have come true… in a way.
In 2011, during the great earthquake in eastern Japan, the shrine that was being repaired here collapsed and it was decided that a torii of balaous and sardines would be built to help to revitalize the city. When the unusual gate started to gain some attention online, the giant bream was added.
The bream is said to be tied to help hold it in place in strong winds, but Masanuki felt that the real reason it was tied was to keep it from returning to the sea.
While torii gates are usually located at the front of shrines, this trio of gates appeared to stand in front of some sort of red hangar, with a basketball hoop attached, above the words “kokoro no ooatari” (” big hit in the heart ”) handwritten in yellow paint.
▼ Masanuki wasn’t sure what this was supposed to mean, so he asked the big fish, who continued to watch him in silence.
Like a seasoned sage, the fish’s gaze pierced Masanuki’s heart, and it was then that he understood what it was like to receive a “big blow to the heart.” Big fish will have this effect on you, especially when sitting atop torii gates overlooking the ocean.
As Masanuki was saying goodbye to the fish, he saw a rusty metal box with handwritten messages that read: “Go away, poverty of heart”(“ 心 の 貧乏 出 て い け ”) and“I’ve had it up to here”(“ も う い や だ ”). Like the message on the hangar, these scribbled notes would undoubtedly have a deeper meaning for visitors looking for meaning in life …
As if knowing that Masanuki needed something familiar and heartwarming to launch him on a safe journey home, this torii entered his sights. This “Golden Torii” shines on a sunny day and is a popular place to watch the first sunrise of the year, as it is perfectly positioned towards the rising sun.
▼ Lucky for us, Masanuki had his drone with him the day he visited, so he was able to capture the unique site in all its glory.
Despite all its quirks, this seaside site is truly a sanctuary, and people who visit it would be blessed with all kinds of perks like fertility, security, commercial prosperity, good luck in your studies, and the chance for all kinds of big catches.
This is really good news for Masanuki and our team as he helped us search for treasure in the inexpensive country house we bought for just one million yen (US $ 9,100).
Chobokuri Inari Shrine / 長 九郎 稲 荷 神社
Address: Near Chiba-ken, Choshi-shi, Nagasakimachi 10744
千葉 県 銚 子 市 長崎 町 10744 付 近