ちょしぜんの: The Mystical Aura of Japan

Japan is indeed mystical. However, anything related to mysticism doesn’t usually appear in the top of our mind when we think of Japan.

But, maybe, I can shed some sliver of light in that slightly lesser known aspect of Japan.

There is something spiritual about this place. And though it may be forever obscure to me, I cannot but be aware of its power

Algren-san (played by Tom Cruise) in the movie “The Last Samurai”

Having experienced Japan, I can vouch for this fact. There indeed is a spiritual presence in Japan, the reason may be obscure, but one needs to be “in-the-moment” to feel its presence and be awed of the power it weilds, the blessings it provides and the immensely mystical aura it imparts to each and every square inch of the amazing land known as Japan.

This post will explain some details of one of my experiences in Japan. This isn’t a travel blog per se, but a record of experiences.


Fushimi Inari Shrine in Sapporo, the Capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan

You might be aware of the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. The one I am referring to in Sapporo bears striking resemblance with the more famous sister-shrine in Kyoto and feels equally mystical.


An arduous “expedition” awaited me to reach the hallowed grounds of the mystical shrine.

I was awake and traveling since early morning, since 6-7 AM that day, in Sapporo and around (that’s for a separate post) and was soaking the exuberance of Japan as much as I could. The breathtaking vistas and unique scenes were all beyond imagination. However, I wanted to visit the shrine too and perhaps test the veracity of what Algren-san said, about more than a decade back when I first heard him saying those lines (which was another, perhaps a strong inspiration for me to travel to the blessed land of Japan).

Fast forward in time, and here I was standing in Nishisen Jurokujo tram station and was on my way to the 1.5 odd kilometres walk to the shrine.

Beautiful vistas of the trek to the shrine. Pictures courtesy Abirbhav Mukherjee

And boy it was one of the hardest walks so far.

A steep hill, probably volcanic one, greeted me and was testing my tired legs which had thus far walked for more than 15 odd kilometres that day. A steep walk alongside the mountain slope, followed by stairs, then slopes and more stairs led me to the Torii Gates, which indicate the presence of a shrine.

The beautiful Torii Gates leading to the Fushimi Inari Shrine.. Photo Courtesy: Abirbhav Mukherjee

And there onwards, an inexplicable calming feeling overtook me – something spiritual indeed was present and I couldn’t help but be amazed at its mystical power.

As I climbed the flight of several (hundred or more?) steps beneath the bright and vibrant orange-reddish tunnel of Torii Gates to reach the shrine itself, the hallowed grounds did make its mystical powers feel more conspicuous.

None of the biting cold, the sub-zero temperatures mattered anymore.

None of the fatigue or tiredness mattered anymore.

No feeling of hunger or thirst could even be identified.

What mattered was the moment – the small things in life, the beauty in every rock which so intricately adorned the shrine, the calmness of the surroundings beckoning the curious traveler to pause and look around himself and absorb the beauty of nature away from the hustle-bustle of cities and life, the solitary tree on its way to bloom into the spectacular cherry blossoms amidst equally beautiful coniferous forests about a hundred or more years old, the prayers of a few students sitting on the stone benches.

To enjoy life in every cup of tea, every breath we take, to be present in the moment. That’s ぶしど / Bushido.

And perhaps at that moment, I could finally realise the essence of what Katsumoto-san said and Algren-san realised. Life in every breath. Beauty in every blossom. Calmness in the air. All intertwined by the same mystical power which soothes the mind, heals the soul, blesses the land of Japan and allures the traveler to pause, break-free from the cycles of work and be one with the nature; be in the moment. Pray.

The mystical power in the shrine.

Beautiful vistas of the Fushimi Inari shrine. Pictures courtesy Abirbhav Mukherjee

Thank you immensely for the experience. ありがとうございます / Arigatou Gozaimasu.

Perfect.. They are all Perfect .. Cherry Tree in the Fushimi Inari Shrine on its way to bloom into perfect blossoms.. Picture courtesy: Abirbhav Mukherjee


The Fushimi Inari Shrine of Sapporo was built during the reign of Emperor Meiji, about a hundred or more years ago. It may be recalled that Emperor Meiji is credited with modernising Japan, yet, keeping her culture intact and setting an example of the world to follow in the years to come.

The shrine consists of 27 vibrant Torii Gates which give the signature reddish-orange coloured tunnel like appearance on the way to the shrine, further adding to the mystical quotient of the shrine. The shrine is an important place of worship for the people of Sapporo.

How to reach

The Fushimi Inari Shrine of Sapporo can be reached from Nishisen Jurokujo Tram Station from where the shrine is about 1.5 km away. The distance may be covered on foot, bicycle or car. Alternatively, taxis can also be hired from almost anywhere in Sapporo to take you to the shrine, though that’s a highly expensive option.

The visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine of Sapporo was indeed a calming and mystical experience. It is a must recommended one for people who can pause and be present in the moment to feel the enigmatic yet spiritual power present in the place, intertwined with the very soul of Japan and blessing Her with happiness and prosperity.

This and more of this await in Japan, waiting to be discovered and experienced. Stay tuned for more.

© Abirbhav Mukherjee. All the pictures / videos posted in this article are my own unless otherwise mentioned.


  1. What an adventure. I would love to visit Japan. It seems so vast, with so many different things to visit. Narrowing it down is the hard part for me. I think several trips would be necessary, both summer and winter. Thanks for your trip report! I have more to think about now.
    Well done, and happy travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, even a lifetime of stay in Japan is insufficient to explore it fully.. I can totally relate to your thoughts.. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your comment.. The Adventure part is yet to come.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow.. I don’t claim to be a good storyteller, but your words are too kind and somewhat prophetic.. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.. 🙂 to enjoy the “Adventure” part, may I suggest you to kindly glance through the “Dream” or “Prelude” part? Just a 2-3 minute read, but hopefully will give you a heartfelt note about the genres about to be covered.. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Mystical’ indeed. Japan is on my list of countries to visit. Your travel to the place sounds fulfilling. Beautiful photographs, too. I like the one with the Torii gates. It looks like the place turned you into a poet and I’m not surprised. Thank you for sharing your journey, history and the beauty of the place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arigatou Gozaimasu..!! Thank you so much for your kind words, but I can’t take the credit as the so-called “poetry” isn’t mine but inspired by the movie “The Last Samurai”, which I felt I am living it.. 🙂 Hope you watch it, visit Japan and live that masterpiece in the place which is the Superlative of Perfection itself.. 🙂 Glad you liked the photos, more content coming up..


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