Togakushi 'Okusha' (Upper Shrine)
The most important of the five shrines making-up the Togakushi Shrine complex, the ‘Okusha’ or ‘Upper Shrine’ is accessed via a 2km trail through the forest. Along the way, visitors pass through the Zuishimon Gate and grand cedar avenue – one of Nagano’s most iconic destinations and certainly one of Japan’s most important Shinto landscapes.
Japan’s native religion of Shinotism places greater importance on nature worship with features including mountains, waterfalls and specific trees and stones regarded as imbued with divinity. Indeed, the Shinto belief is that all things are ‘kami’ or divine, and we must care for the spirit of all things in order to the natural order and balance to be maintained.
Delving into the deep history and beliefs of Shintoism is a journey into the heart of Japan itself, and there is no better place to do so than at Togakushi. Considered sacred for at least 2000 years, exploring the Okusha in combination with nearby shrines can be enjoyed any time of year, with autumn being an especially good time to head there given the astounding colours of the forest each October and November while winter brings heavy snow.
For further information about everything on offer in the area, see our full ‘Togakushi’ page or should you like to join a guided tour, our 1-Day Togakushi Forest Shrines & Mountain Ninja Tour is a fantastic way to turn your visit into a real experience*. We’d love for you to join us!
*Please note, due to the time taken to walk to and from the Okusha, our tour only walks as far as the Zuishimon and giant cedars.