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Haruna Shrine

         Haruna Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. Mount Haruna, the mountain where the shrine is located, is one of the "Three Mountains of Jomo" and the shrine has a close relationship with the shrines of the other two mountains, Mount Akagi and Mount Myogi. It is dedicated to the gods of Water, Fire, and Agriculture. It also said to give blessings of prosperity in business and a good marriage.

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          Haruna Shrine was founded in 586, the first year of the reign of Emperor Yōmei. During the 14th century it became affiliated with Ueno's Kan'ei-ji. During the Meiji era separation of Buddhism and Shinto, the Buddhist colors were discontinued and the original Haruna Shrine was restored.

      Haruna Shrine begins with a steep uphill approach where the main entrance archway and great tower gate is slowly revealed over the horizon by each closer step. The main tower gate has an East / West orientation, so at any time of day it looks radiant with the sun either streaming through from behind or reflecting brightly off its face, making for a wonderful introduction.After entering under the tower gate, there is approximately another 700 meters of delicate wandering to be done across uneven stone pathways until you reach the inner part of the shrine.

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     The sight is very special as the ancient age of the shrine is immediately apparent. In fact, you might start wonder which of the shrine and the mountain was there first. In a strange reversal, the stone of the mountain appears to climb up and around the shrine halls, as creeping ivy might do to an old house. Misugata rock , which has stoically resisted the elements for over a thousand years, ominously sits above the main hall in such a precarious position that you expect it to come tumbling down the mountainside with the right gust of wind.After paying your respects, it’s time to retrace your steps back through the shrine and past the cultural and religious icons. With only one way in and one way out, it really feels like you’re crossing the threshold from the present into the distant past, but as you leave you can take a sense of renewal and something of the reverence that has been drawing people to this “power spot” for over 1,300 years.



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