Nezu Shrine

根津神社Nezu Jinja (根津神社), a Shinto shrine located in central Tokyo, was founded about 1900 years ago according to legend, and it still preserves a set of buildings built in 1706. Shrines which still preserve their complex built in the feudal times are quite rare in the middle of Tokyo - it means they survived the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and air raids in WWII - and of them this shrine is the largest.
The deities enshrined here are collectively known as Nezu Gongen, but as is often the case with many Shinto shrines, their characters themselves are kind of vague. Like this shrine, ordinary Shinto shrines are worshiped by people who live around it as the protective god(s) of their lands and communities, and festivals and rituals are held to strengthen people's emotional ties there.
It's a 5-min walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyda Line Nezu Station, and is not so far from Ueno or Yanaka.

Torii gate
Nezu Shrine
Romon gate
Nezu Shrine

Romon Gate was erected in 1706. Two statues of gardian deities (Zuishin) are placed. It is desingated as an Important Cultural Property.

Karamon gate & sukibei walls
Nezu Shrine

Karamon gate and sukibei walls were created in 1706. These are Important Cultural Properties.

Haiden
Nezu Shrine
Nezu Shrine

Haiden, created in 1706, is where you offer prayers to divinities. It's an Important Cultural Property.

Honden
Nezu Shrine

Honden, created in 1706, is where divinities are enshrined. It's an Important Cultural Property.

Nishimon
Nezu Shrine
Sukibei wall
Nezu Shrine
Main complex
Nezu Shrine

Honden and Haiden are connected by a building called Heiden.

Kaguraden
Nezu Shrine

Kaguraden is where music and dances are performed in festivals. It was probably created in the Meiji period (late 19th to early 20th century).

Otome Inari
Nezu Shrine
Otome Inari (winter)
Nezu Shrine
Pond
Nezu Shrine
Shrine office
Nezu Shrine

Azalea Festival

Nezu Jinja is renowned for its azalea flowers. At present there are some 3,000 azalea trees composed of 100 cultivars, and from mid-April to early May, the Tsutsuji-matsuri (Azalea Festival) is held every year. For details about this event, see the article on the Tsutsuji-matsuri at Nezu Shrine.

Azalea garden
Nezu Shrine Azaleas
Drum performance
Nezu Shrine

Reitaisai

Usually, a Shinto shrine holds a Reitaisai (Grand Festival) - the most important ceremony of the shrine - once a year. The Reitaisai of Nezu Shrine is held in mid-Setember, but is fully conducted only once in every four years. In fully-conducted years, a large mikoshi (portable shrine) parade through the area the shrine guards. (below photos were NOT one of those years).

Reitaisai
Reitaisai
Reitaisai
Reitaisai
Reitaisai
Reitaisai
Nezu Jinja
1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo-to MAP
Access: 5-min walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyda Line Nezu Station
Area guide around this site