I was on my way rushing to Matsumoto Castle when I first stumbled upon this quaint little section of the city. The retro streets, the auspicious shrine, the lively statues, and the yummy snacks here made me return here Yohashira Shrine (四柱神社) and Nawate Street(なわて通り) again and again.

Yohashira Shrine 四柱神社 also known as Shrine of Four Pillars, is a Shinto religion worshiping place. Yohashira has four gods stationed here, known for granting people’s wishes come true by bestowing “power, productivity, bear fruit, and harmony”. Every year many people visit Matsumoto would stop by to pray for peace, health, luck on tests, relationships, and more.

This shrine captivated me because of my first encounter here. I entered through the small side entrance without the hand washing place. When I was praying, suddenly a flock of pigeons flew down from the roof, a couple stopped on my shoulder, and others flew past me. I turned around to see where other pigeons went, saw the hand washing place, and realized what I forgot to do!!!!! (needles to say, i ran back ASAP to wash my hands properly ;_; ). It’s felt as if the nature combined with the forces from the shrine were reminding me. ~ Now I make sure I look for the hand washing place every time!

In the year 1888, unfortunately Matsumoto City had a huge fire that destroyed much of the city besides the Matsumoto Castle. Much of the Yohashiro Shrine was damaged in the fire, and was rebuilt later in 1924.

Oh, and did I tell you this shrine also offers great afternoon tea =D ? On certain days of the week, you will see flags and posters out with dessert photos outside the house at the left side of the main Shrine (photo above). I was lucky this time they were open when I went. Without second thoughts, I went in to take a peek!

Inside is decorated with a mixture of Japanese – Euro style. Sitting by the floor windows you will see parts of the shrine ground, with the soft sun rays shining through.

I ordered a Anmitsu (あんみつ/餡蜜). It is a mixture, of seasoned fruits, mochi, red bean paste, agar jelly, ice cream, topped with local brown sugar syrup. The colorful presentation of the dessert made my smile from ear to ear ~ ahhh ~ this is what life is about!

They also offer coffee, tea and other snacks here. A tip for those who are a little scared of the language barrier when ordering:  I just point to the poster with photos outside to order what I wanted =D (or take a photo of the dessert you want on the poster and show the guy).

Wait, my afternoon walk has not ended yet ~ Stay tuned and next post we will go look around the “Froggie” Street – Nawate Street(なわて通り) right outside the Yohashira Shrine!

Yohashira Shrine Address: 3丁目-3−20 Ote, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0874, Japan (四柱神社)

Directions from Matsumoto JR Station: (12-15 minutes walking) 1. Exiting JR station using the castle exit (right side), 2. Walk straight on the road/ 国道143号線 a.k.a Agatanomori Street until you see convenient store called “K” beside a huge post office, 3. Turn left on Honmachi Dori Street and keep walking till you cross a bridge. 4. After crossing the bridge, turn right to face the old style streets, and you will see the Yohashira Shrine entrance.