Asuka Shrine (阿須賀神社)
Asuka Shrine History
Asuka Shrine is said to be the oldest shrine in the Kumano area.
A number of Buddhist images called kakebotoke (Buddhist images representing the kami of the shrine) were discovered on Mt. Horai behind the shrine, testifying to the syncretism of the religion followed in the Kumano region for centuries.
The shrine is entered through a concrete torii gate with another concrete building on your left being the shrine's Treasure House (Shingu Shiritsu Rekishiminzoku Museum), which contains several of the kakebotoke, along with ceramic fragments, ancient copper coins, sacred mirrors, calligraphy scrolls and other exhibits.
Asuka Shrine's main hall or honden is an impressive, squat, vermilion-painted structure with straw barrels of sake stacked neatly outside.
Tel: 0735 22 3986
Asuka Shrine is a brisk 10-15 minute walk from Shingu Station on the Kisei Line.
Close to Shingu Station is the Chinese-style gate of Jofuku Park. The park and Chinese-style temple and garden behind it are dedicated to the legendary Jofuku (Hsu Fu), who was sent on a mission by a Chinese emperor over 2,000 years ago to find the elixir of eternal life and found his way to Shingu, supposedly. Jofuku was so taken by his surroundings that he decided to settle here and impart the wisdom of his accumulated knowledge of farming, fishing paper-making and weaving techniques from China to the locals.
Jofuku Park contains a statue of the sage, a pond and a memorial stone commemorating the long, largely amicable intercourse of Sino-Japanese relations.