Set on top of the 70-meter high Mount Shinki, Nitta Shrine is one of the highest points in Satsumasendai City. There are quite a lot of steps to reach it, but the pretty sight is worth the climb and there are even some interesting outer shrine buildings half-way up to break the journey.
The oldest historical reference to Nitta Shrine dates from 1165, but historians say it existed in some form in the early Heian Period (794–930). It is believed its name, which literally means “new rice field,” marks the celebration of a rice field created at that time by drawing water from Sendai River. Nitta Shrine enshrines Ninigi-no-mikoto, the grandson of Amaterasu who sent him to earth to plant rice from heaven.
Today, people visit the shrine to pray for safety, good harvests and good fishing catches. It is colorful and frequently visited by local people. See if you can spot the two kappa (water sprite) statues and the sacred camphor tree.
The picturesque tori gates and stone bridge at the entrance to Nitta Shrine are popular as a photo spot and the park across the quiet road is beautiful during cherry blossom season (March and April).
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