Today’s video is brought to you, indirectly, by the YouTube algorithm. It is longer than the ones I normally introduce, and was put online about two years ago by Togakushi Jinja.
Togakushi Jinja is, I think, the most important jinja about which I know nothing. Obviously, I am exaggerating slightly. I know that it was an extremely important centre for shugendō, the heavily Buddhism-influenced form of Shinto in which mountains played a crucial role. (Some people might describe shugendō as a Shinto-influenced form of Buddhism, and I can’t say that they are necessarily wrong.) It is still an important place today, and the cedar avenue that appears at around 12:30 is famous.
However, it almost never comes up in my reading, and I don’t know why. It could be that it is in the middle of nowhere in Nagano Prefecture, so that the people who write books about Shinto never get there. It is also possible that it is not affiliated with Jinja Honchō, so that it doesn’t get written about in Jinja Shinpō, although it could also just be that no-one at Togakushi Jinja bothers to write articles for them. [Edit: It is affiliated with Jinja Honchō — I remembered that I could check for important jinja. So it isn’t that.] Finally, it could just be chance. There are lots of important jinja in Japan, and Togakushi Jinja is not one that you must mention if you are writing about Shinto, so maybe the authors of most of the books I have read just decided not to mention it, but many of the books I have not read, do.
It is on my list of jinja that I would like to visit, but, as noted, it is in the middle of nowhere up in the mountains, and not easily accessible.
In any case, the video is beautiful.