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Chichibu Mitsumine Shrine May 2023 and Muku Shrine November 2023


If we are going to Chichibu by car from the West Tokyo area where I live, you have two options: either via the Kanetsu Expressway, or by driving from Ome on the metropolitan and prefectural roads. I like mountain roads, so if I'm not in a hurry I'll choose the latter, but the views of clear streams and quiet villages will be soothing.

Chichibu(秩父) was formerly written as Chichibu(知々夫), and it is thought that in ancient times it was under the rule of Chichibu local clan, and there was a ruler who was subordinate to the Yamato court. In fact, the deity enshrined at Chichibu Shrine, the most venerable shrine in the area, is the founder and his ancestors, so I pay close attention to the names of these major shrines, as they are thought to be the key to unraveling the history of the region. I visited Chichibu Shrine a few years ago, and I was curious about how the old powerful clan of Chichibu and the Chichibu Taira clan, who came in later, interacted and integrated. However, it is not easy to connect the Chichibu clan, which ruled in the 4th to 5th centuries, with the Heishi clan, which entered the 10th century.


The Chichibu Basin is located in a wide plain surrounded by several layers of mountains. The Chichibu Taira clan, who came in later, seems to have set up their base in a remote area quite far from the center of Chichibu, and a monument marking the site of the building is currently located near Yoshida Elementary School. It is unclear whether they took advantage of the high terrain, typical of a medieval mansion, or whether they chose to live in the mountains first, shying away from the influential people who lived there, but it was here that they accumulated land power, which led to the formation of samurai groups that covered the entire Musashi area. The story behind it is interesting. I feel that the reasons and vestiges of Shigetada Hatakeyama, who was said to be a model of Kanto samurai, as well as the reasons for producing famous families such as Doi, Chiba, Kasai, Edo, and Kawagoe, remain in this area.

Mitsumine Shrine is located on a highland over 1,000 meters above sea level, so a car is essential, but there are quite a few mountain roads and parking is limited, so we recommend going on weekdays. Together with Chichibu Shrine and Hodosan Shrine, these shrines are called Chichibu Sansha, and these shrines and Hodosan Shrine are dedicated to the gods of Yamato mythology.

I think it is comparable to Mt. Daisen in Kanagawa Prefecture as a power spot where you can enjoy spectacular views in the Kanto region.



Now, Muku Shrine is a little plain compared to these shrines, but it seems to have been protected by the Chichibu clan as it is close to the ruins of the Chichibu clan mansion, and there is also a shrine dedicated to Hachiman-sama near the main shrine that enshrines Sarutahiko. Sarutahiko is the god who appears in the descent of the Tenson(our emperor's ancestors), and the founding of your company is said to have its origins in Yamato Takeru's expedition to the east, and I wonder if this is a metaphor for how the powerful local clans were swept away by the forces of the Yamato court. I prayed while imagining this.

This shrine was the starting point of the Chichibu Incident (1884). The region, where silkworm breeding is popular, was strongly affected by the collapse of the raw silk market in Europe, which was further exacerbated by the Matsukata deflation. Formed the Japan Poverty Party, advocating tax reduction and debt deferral. They staged an armed uprising and burned government offices and loan documents, but were suppressed in five days by the government, which even sent out the military.



The mountains of Chichibu soothe people's hearts.

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