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Hanazono Shrine - Tokyo Tourist Guide
| Hanazono Shrine can be found just off the intersection of Meiji-dori and Yasukuni-dori. It is a clear example of modern Tokyo taking over the remnants of the past. When you enter from Yasuki-dori the high-rise buildings seem to be overpowering the shrine.|
Hanazono means "flower garden" and although there is not much evidence of a garden it is still a nice place to step into when one would like to get away from the crowds in Shinjuku. There is usually a flea-market during the weekend and some interesting wall-scrolls, secondhand kimono's and yukatas can be bought to very reasonable prices.
Long before the Edo Era started this was already a shrine dedicated to Yamato-no-Kuni-Yoshinoyama, only its original location was different: close to what is now Shinjuku 3 Chome and its was called Hanazono-Inari. The name Hanazono was derived from the name of nearby villa of the Owari-Tokugawa family. Since many people put up their residences in Shinjuku and Edo Castle, these wooden houses with their thatched straw roofs as well as the shrines and temples were great potential fire hazards as the Great Mereiki Fire proved. Because of this the shrine was moved to its present location between 1624 and 1644 during the Kan-ei Era.
The shrine had its own share of problems. It burned down on several occassions. In order to rebuild special theaters called Sankoin Shibai were constructed after each fire to raise the necessary funds. The complete shrine was however destroyed by the end of the Second World War. The present structures date back to 1965.