Hi everyone! It’s Ayumi, your favourite otaku writer at MANGA.TOKYO. I’m a Saniwa at the Citadel, but neither Juzumaru Tsunetsugu nor Kogarasumaru ever visit me.
‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally Ⅰ’, which took place in 2016, has come back with more power and charm: ‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally Ⅱ’ started on 21 January 2017!
It consists of a stamp rally via the Raiden train line, exhibitions of character panels at shrines and temples and, as a new addition this year, the ‘Touken Ranbu -Hanamaru-: Kyo no Kiseki Hanamaru Festival’ which is taking place at Toei Kyoto Studio Park. There you can try collaboration food and see special panels. What’s more, there are recreations of the Citadel and Ikedaya…! Saniwa from all around the world are buzzing about the event.
Despite the assertion by many that I’m a Tokyoite, I’m actually a resident of Kyoto. As a Saniwa in Kyoto, it’s definitely my turn to report!!
I’m going to introduce you to the shrines and temples which I visited to collect ‘Goshuin’. Don’t worry if all these Japanese words seem foreign. I’ll explain them all in the article! Enjoy all the beautiful pictures of the shrines and temples which have been standing there since forever witnessing history, as well as the beautiful pictures of the Touken Danshi. Fans of both Touken Ranbu and Japanese history must read on!
‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally Ⅱ’~ Hop Around Places with Touken Ranbu Connection in Kyoto ~, here I go!
Things I brought with me
My companion today is the ‘Goshuin’ book with the crest of my favorite warlord, Nobunaga Oda.
First, I’ll briefly explain what a ‘Goshuin’ is below. If you already know about it, please skip this section.
What is a ‘Goshuin’?
Goshuin used to be given to worshipers who offered hand-written sutra transcriptions. Later, all worshipers were allowed to receive it as a ‘proof of worship’ without offering transcriptions. Since then, shrines followed the system and you can receive one from most shrines and temples in Japan nowadays. Note that ‘Goshuin’ is not a stamp, but an alter ego of a deity of a shrine or a temple, and is carefully hand-written letter by letter by the staff of the shrine or temple. It’s secret and heartful, so please take good care of it, as you are receiving the alter ego of a deity.
A Goshuin-Cho is a special book for you to receive Goshuin in, and each shrine and temple has their own different design. Find your favourite book by its design or an association with a samurai lord, just like I did!
The list below has the names of the shrines and temples which I’m going to visit, and the Touken Danshi who are related to them.
- Kenkun Shrine…Souza Samonji
- Kitano Tenmangu…Higekiri
- Nijou Castle…Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki
- Honno-ji…Yagen Toshirou, Fudou Yukimitsu
- Mibu-dera…Nagasone Kotetsu, Izuminokami Kanesada, Horikawa Kunihiro
- Awata Shrine…Ichigo Hitofuri, Akita Toushirou
- Toyokuni Shrine…Honebami Toushirou
- Fujimori Shrine…Tsurumaru Kuninaga
- Kazan Inari Shrine…Kogitsunemaru
Look at those gorgeous characters! There are unexpectedly many swords which are related to Kyoto. It’s a city with a long and rich history. Now, shall we go around them?!
Kenkun Shrine is situated in the Funaokayama area. It overlooks a quiet residential area, which is quite a sight.
It enshrines Nobunaga Oda under the name ‘Take Isao’ and was established by Emperor Meiji after the Meiji restoration to celebrate the accomplishments of Nobunaga. Souza Samonji was donated to the shrine at the time. The panel of Souza Samonji is welcoming you until 12 March 2017!
You can enjoy glorious autumn colors here. The best season is late November.
Don’t forget to worship at the shrine. I offered my greetings to Nobunaga.
Goshuin from Kenkun Shrine. They usually prepare two types of Goshuin.
Since the shrine is located on the top of the mountain, you have to climb a lot of steps to get there. I managed to climb them by imagining Souza’s smile. It’s worth it because, in return, I enjoyed the spectacular view from Mt. Funaoka. It’s so quiet around here, I even thought I had wandered into a spiritual world on the way back.
A hot spring with a long-standing history, Funaoka Onsen, and a retro style café which opened at the reformed bathhouse are nearby. There are more photogenic spots in the area. This area is perfect for people who’ve already visited the regular sightseeing spots in Kyoto.
My next destination is Kitano Tenmangu. Wait for me Anija~!!
This is a picture of the torii gate at Kitano Tenmangu on a snowy day, as I somehow forgot to take a picture on that day.
Kitano Tenmangu is famous for its plum flowers and autumn colors. It enshrines Sugawara no Michizane, who is regarded the god of study and is enshrined in over 12000 shrines throughout Japan. Kitano Tenmangu is the head of those shrines, so every year schoolchildren gather here to pray for luck on their entrance exams.
There are so many worshipers on the day of my visit. I believe some of them must be Saniwa.
There is a queue to take a picture with the anija (elder brother), Higekiri.
An exhibition of the sword Onikirimaru, aka Higekiri, is taking place inside the shrine. Since it’s said to have cut off the head of a demon, the sword can only be pulled from its sheath from the 4th of February, because the day before we have a ceremony to drive away demons from our houses by throwing beans. I like their humor!
I can’t wait to see it!
After my worship, I received the Goshuin.
The contrast of black and red is stunning.
Foodies will enjoy the surrounding area of Kitano Tenmangu, as there are many gourmet spots here, such as famous shops for tofu and shaved ice. A leisurely walk to Kitano Hakubaicho station is fun and always lets you discover new spots. In retrospect, if I follow all that advice I may have to spend too much time here…
Before visiting Daikaku-ji
My next destination should be Daikaku-ji, but I only have two hours to spend today. I have to go over Arashiyama to get to Daikaku-ji and all the buses in that direction are crammed with tourists. What can I do…?
I can see Kashuu Kiyomitsu in the distance, my first sword in the game!!! This is a panel for ‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally Ⅱ’. My instinct as a Saniwa has lead me here. You can visit the stands for the stamp rally without a train ticket.
The stamp stands in Randen are located at Shijo Omiya Station, Arashiyama station, and Kitano Hakubaicho station.
The special train collaborating with the stamp rally is running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and is exhibited at Arashiyama station on Saturdays and Sundays while the stamp rally is taking place.
At Arashiyama station, Iwatooshi and Imanotsurugi are waiting for me with a beautiful background!
You can read the report of ‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally Ⅱ’ here:
‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally II’ On-the-Spot Report!
I’ve finally arrived at Randen Arashiyama station. However, there’re only a few buses going to Daikaku-ji!! It’s four o’clock in the afternoon and perhaps too late for tourists to visit the temple. The next bus will come 40 minutes later, but the gate of the temple will be closed by the time I get there. The only way to get there is to walk. I started walking hurriedly.
There is no one around except me. It’s the northern part of Kyoto, so the road is still partly covered with snow. Don’t forget to check the bus timetable and move on accordingly, if you don’t want to end up like me…
20 minutes later, I’m here at Daikaku-ji. I was walking fast, so it’s about 30 minutes on foot at a regular speed. It’s 16.20. I managed to come here before it closed!
There’s no snow remaining in Kyoto downtown, but so much here, beyond Arashiyama.
It’s very quiet and the setting sun is utterly divine.
Daikaku-ji has Hizamaru, the sword that is said to have been made for Minamoto no Mitsunaka. The Touken Danshi Hizamaru calls Higekiri ‘anija’. I walked around to see the temple and its garden.
I’m totally overwhelmed by its majestic atmosphere.
As I was lost in the scale and beauty of the temple…
I find Hizamaru!! He is standing quietly, surrounded by the beautiful scenery. I wish I could have spent a bit more time here looking around. It’s such a tranquil place.
I received a Goshuin on my way back and that’s the end of my itinerary for today.
The bold writing reminded me of the main hall of Daikaku-ji
Even for me, a Kyoto local who knows how to get around, it took five hours just to go around two shrines and a temple. I think I spent too much time transferring, as they are not close to each other. Since shrines and temples close at 5 p.m., I think it’s difficult, or rather impossible, to go around all the places in one day. Please plan to spend a few days in Kyoto in order to enjoy ‘Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-: Kyo no Kiseki Stamp Rally Ⅱ’ at your own pace.
The next article will be about my visit to the remaining shrines and temples to meet more Touken Danshi and receive more Goshuin. Will I be able to visit all the remaining spots?! Don’t go anywhere and keep on reading MANGA.TOKYO!