Togakushi Jinja Shrine is an ancient shrine in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture. Known for its nature worship, it has a history of more than 2000 years. It became well known in the late Heian period (794-1185) as a place of practice for mountain asceticism. In the medieval period the site was known as Togakushisan Kenkoji temple, and it was counted as one of the three major mountains of Buddhist practice, alongside Mt. Koya and Mt. Hiei. It is said that during its peak more than 3000 Buddhist monks lived here. During that time, there was no clear distinction between Buddhism and Shinto and other systems of belief. It was only in the Meiji period, that the temple-shrine complex of Mt. Togakushi was designated a Shinto shrine for political reasons and rid of some of its Buddhist elements. Anyone with an interest in Japanese history and religion traveling through Nagano should consider visiting here.
Photograph provided by Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau