Irugi Shrine – Tokyo, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Irugi Shrine

A 17th-century Shinto shrine that is home to statues of Mickey Mouse and Pikachu. 


It is not quite clear when Irugi Shrine was founded, although records show that it had already stood near modern Iruki Bridge by the early Edo period, making it about 400 years old at least.

Originally known as Kiji-no-miya (the Pheasant Shrine), Irugi Shrine was relocated to its current location at some point between 1661 and 1673 to keep it away from the Meguro River, which was prone to flooding. Soon a village formed around the new shrine, and in 1872 the shrine was renamed Irugi-jinja, or Irugi Shrine. The main building was heavily damaged during World War II and was finally restored in 1978.

From the mid-17th century to the late 19th century, the village was famed for the squash it produced, and archaeological ruins from the Jōmon period were unearthed during the postwar construction of a residential neighborhood in the area, including a kaizuka (shell mound), terra-cotta and stone vessels.

But while its history is quite fascinating, that is not what makes this shrine unique; It is known for being home to several out-of-place stone statues depicting such popular cartoon characters as Mickey Mouse, Pikachu, and Doraemon, as well as an odd array composed of a dachshund, raccoon dogs, and Ninomiya Kinjirō.

Know Before You Go

The shrine is a three minutes walk from Osaki Station. If you happen to visit the shrine in spring, you may be welcomed by a bunch of cherry blossom trees in bloom.

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March 18, 2020

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