The Miyoshino shrine features in a famed traditional song (Warabe uta) that is known by Japanese people all over Japan. The song name is “Tooryanse”. As such, the shrine is much beloved by many, particularly the proud locals. A monument was erected to mark the significance of the shrine in the anthem Tooryanse.
Shinto shrines are plentiful in Japan, almost every village, town or city has one. There are usually amenities available at popular and / or large shrines, including toilets, baby feeding rooms, vending machines and eateries. However, even the smaller shrines usually come with at least one piece of playground equipment. The playground at Miyoshino Shrine is one of the better ones. It is located in a small park called Hatsukari Park.
Hatsukari Park 2022
Although the playground is on the grounds of the shrine, it is considered part of Hatsukari Park. It is not a typical park, but it has some useful facilities for locals such as a baseball pitch, running course and even an outdoor swimming pool which opens in the summer. Its just a small pool with little else. There are lockers and toilets on the grounds though. Furthermore, it only costs 200 yen for an adult to use and 50 yen for children. The park underwent some work in 2020, but the appearance of the park didn’t change much. It was more maintenance than a facelift!
The pool is closed in 2022 due to the pandemic. When it opens, it opens the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays and Sundays of July and then from July 20th to August 31st. However, the pool and other facilities in the park are closed on Mondays. Official notification of cancellation of the pools in 2022.
Miyoshino Shrine is located across the road from Honmaru Goten. The grounds are well maintained. Furthermore, the atmosphere is serene and majestic as you enter by a torii onto a stone pavement. The area is surrounded by trees, some of which are yorishiro (place inhabited by a kami‘s spirit). In addition, there is a large gingko tree on the grounds which creates a golden carpet in late Autumn. There are purification fonts to cleanse your hands, the komainu (lion-dogs) guard the inner shrine, wooden plaques hang with visitor’s prayers and wishes, there is usually at least one minature shrine often with a fox, the diety of rice supposedly.
Miyoshino Shrine Playground
Miyoshino Shrine in Kawagoe is one of my favourite shrines to bring toddlers. The playground there is relatively new and the equipment is really suited to children under four. Young kids love the equipment in the shape of a train with climbing and slides. For older children they have a climbing frame, a flying fox, a spring see saw and there is the hill beside the playground that kids love to climb. There are also swings and a sand pit for children of all ages. The sand pit is enclosed which keeps out the cats and the kids in!
Hanami with kids in Kawagoe
During sakura season this park is ideal for hanami with small children. There are only a few sakura trees, but they are mature and really beautiful in full bloom. It is a popular spot to enjoy a picnic under the cherry blossoms for locals, so do arrive early to secure a spot under a tree. There is plenty of other space on the grounds if you don’t manage to get one of the prime locations. 🙂
Miyoshino Shrine Kawagoe Information
Miyoshino shrine has toilets, vending machines, a small shop, a pay phone and a yaki-soba counter. There is also a rent-a-bike station nearby. It is right next to the popular tourist attraction Kawagoe Honmaru Goten, the only surviving building of Kawagoe castle.
Address: 2 Chome−25, Kuruwamachi, Kawagoe City, 350-0053
By car it is located off route 254. There is free parking (very busy on weekends).
The tourist buses go nearby. Get off at the stop for Honmaru Goten.
Another really good playground nearby – Adventure Forest Kawagoe.