Goshuin number 20 is from the 足利織姫神社 (Ashikaga Orihime Shrine). The first time I saw it was on a train to the Ashikaga Flower Park, and I knew I had to visit it. Obviously, it’s been too long since the last time I went to a shrine or temple…. and I was itching to go.
If you are familiar with Japanese festivals, then you may be aware of one held between July and August called Tanabata. Separated by the Milky Way, it is the one time a year that the goddess Orihime and her lover, Hikoboshi, are allowed to meet. People celebrate by writing wishes on pieces of paper before tying them to bamboo plants, and cities are decorated with large paper streamers. This shrine in Ashikaga is dedicated to Orihime and protects marriage and Ashikaga’s textile industry (she is the goddess of weaving).
There is a small hike up to the shrine itself; it’s on top of a steep hill overlooking the city. Reach the top and you are rewarded with great views! This hill is also riddled with hiking trails (which lead to mountains) and other things to see, so it was a great way to spend a morning exploring around the area.
Date received: May 1, 2018