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Aso Bicycle Shrine

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This entry is in the series Along the Tama
Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社 Aso-jinja), also known as the Bicycle Shrine, is located a few hundred metres north of Hamura Weir, in Hamura (羽村), western Tōkyō.

Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)

As old as the venerable Aso Shrine is (founded over 1,400 years ago), it is also well-hidden and difficult to access. Unless you came on your bicycle, that is. Aso Shrine sits at the end of the Tamagawa Bicycle Path that stretches along the Tama River from Haneda to Hamura Weir. That's probably why it pitches itself as a "bicycle shrine", specialising in omamori (御守, amulets) tailored to the spiritual needs and the safety of cyclists.

History:


The shrine is said to have been founded in the ninth year of Empress Suiko's reign (601 CE) and was known initially as Aso Daimyōjin (阿蘇大明神), Ryūsuizan Asonomiya (竜水山阿蘇宮), or just Asomiya (阿蘇宮). Later, Fujiwara no Hidesato (藤原秀郷) and Mita Kamon no Suke Sadashige (三田掃部助定重) added more buildings to the shrine. The Hōjō of Odawara contributed more land to the shrine, while Tokugawa Ieyasu added a horse riding ground and a sacred forest. Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shōgun, bestowed the shrine with a further 13 koku of "red seal land" (朱印地 shuinchi) that, although in the public domain, belonged to shrines and was tax-exempt. In 1869, the shrine was renamed Aso Shrine.

Enshrined kami:


Takeiwatatsunomikoto (健磐龍命), Kamuyaimiminomikoto (神八井耳命), the son of Emperor Jimmu worshipped as Aso Daijin (阿蘇大神), Asotohime no Mikoto (阿蘇都媛命), Hayamikatama no Mikoto (速瓶玉命), Kunitatsutsu no Kami (国龍神), Hime-no-Mikono-Kami (比咩御子神), Hikomikoko no Kami (彦御子神), Wakahime no Kami (若比咩神), Niihiko no Kami (新彦神), Niuhime no Kami (新比咩神), Wakahiko no Kami (若彦神), Yahime no Kami (弥比咩神), Kanakori no Kami (金凝神), and several others.

Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)

Inariyashiro (稲荷社)

Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)

According to shrine records, the current Honden (本殿) was repaired in 1677. It was completely dismantled and restored in 1986.

Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)

Aso Shrine is situated on a cliff facing the Tama River's left bank. The Castanopsis tree shown in the picture above was designated a natural monument and is 18 metres tall. It is said that it was planted by Fujiwara no Hidesato when he added a shrine building in 940. Hidesato is famous for having defeated Taira Masakado.

Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社)


Grave of Mita Utanosuke Taira no Masasada (三田雅楽之助平将定等)

The grave of Mita Utanosuke Taira no Masasada (三田雅楽之助平将定等) and others just south of Aso Shrine. Masasada founded the adjacent Ippoin Temple in 1424. The Gorintō (五輪塔) on either side are thought to have been made in the early Edo period. The Hōkyōintō (宝篋印塔) in the centre of the site retains its late Muromachi period style, but it seems to have been moved here at some point, and the body and base have been repaired in recent years. Masasada, whose Buddhist name was Sankumidosho (三汲道正居士), was a member of the Mita clan, a powerful family that ruled the Ōme area in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods.

Address: 4-6-7 Hanekami, Hamura, Tokyo 205-0016

Access: best on your bicycle, otherwise it is a 2-kilometre walk from JR Hamura Station on Ōme Line.
Next entry in the series 'Along the Tama': Ippoin Temple
Previous entry in the series 'Along the Tama': Inariyama Komyoin

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thomas
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〒205-0016 東京都羽村市羽加美4丁目6−7

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