|My booklet (and itinerary underneath). Complete with amateur stab binding!|
Anyway, let's start with our first stop: Mibu-dera
From my booklet:
· 1864ish - Home to the shinsengumi before they moved to Hongan-ji. Kondo Isami and other shinsengumi buried here. Kondo was one of the main shinsengumi leaders, along with Hijikata Toshizo, Okita Souji, and others. Most famous was the Ikedaya Affair, where the Shinsengumi fought and won against the shishi (anti-government faction). Kondo was beheaded in 1868 in Tokyo by the new government after being accused of murdering Sakamoto Ryoma. (He probably wasn’t the actual assassin though). He has several grave sites, Mibu-dera being one of them.
· The Buddhist shrine itself is dedicated to Jizo, in charge of pregnant women and babies, and children who die in infancy. The mon is a cherry flower. It was founded in 991 AD. It has been destroyed in several fires, the last being in 1962. It was rebuilt in 1967.
|A cute chibi shinsengumi|
|The actual plaque in the shrine is much better than my booklet.|
There was a shrine right after getting off the bus stop, but it's not Mibu! There's a small sign pointing you down an alley to Mibu-dera, so follow that instead.
|sign from the bus stop|
|One of the many small streets around Mibu-dera|
Once past the main gate, I got confused! There were several shrine-like buildings, but there was also a parking lot in the middle, houses all over, and people riding bikes right through the complex! Very neighborhood and not anything like the larger, more touristy shrines I had visited before.
So we wandered around confused, peering into all the building trying to figure out a) where the shinsengumi graves were and b) where to get a shuincho. We ended up walking a big circle trying to figure it out, but eventually we gathered some courage and popped into the shrine's charm shop. Aha! You had to go into the charm shop, and out the other side was the entrance to the shinsengumi graves.
It was a 100 yen to go into the memorial garden, which is very small but definitely worth it.
|A dragon..with a ball..giggle|
They have a big bust of Kondo Isami, one of the head honchos of the shinsengumi. I'm not sure if he's buried there or not, but several other shinsengumi members are.
And to confirm we were in the right place, the wooden wish plaques (ema) were full of otaku artists! I didn't find a Kaze Hikaru one, but many others, fufufu. There was also a booklet by the entrance where otaku pilgrims could say "I was here".
|Gorgeous art on these!!|
For anyone ever planning a visit there in the future, I will include this google map to hopefully prevent some of the confusion that we had!
|I think it'll enlarge a little if you click.|