Hokumon Shrine

Hokumon Shrine is the northernmost shrine in Japan with a resident Shinto priest. Its many visitors include both Wakkanai residents and tourists. Annual events such as the hatsumoude, the first Shinto shrine visit of each year, and the Hokumon Shrine Festival are lively affairs. The shrine’s main festival from July 4-6 is a time of great celebration. The main street is lined with stalls and the people of Wakkanai hold processions through the city, complete with mikoshi (portable shines) and music. The komainu, statues of lion-like creatures found at many Shinto shrines, in the grounds is one of the few in Japan to be depicted holding its offspring and the shrine is said to promote fertility. Many people come to Hokumon Shrine to receive a shuin, a seal stamp provided at Shinto shrines, bearing the phrase “the northernmost shrine in Japan”. The omikuji (fortune-telling paper strips), which come in unique crab-shaped holders, are also popular among visitors.