Kanda Shrine Revisited

Hello everyone and welcome to another quick update on Tiro Finale! Exactly one year ago on the very same day, I decided to pay a visit to one of the biggest Love Live pilgrimage sites in Tokyo, the Kanda Shrine. More than just a Shinto shrine featured in a very popular anime, the Kanda Shrine is also one of the most important shrines in Tokyo and the Kanto region dating back more than a thousand years and playing host to the Kanda Matsuri. 

This time, for once, I would be entering from the front entrance as opposed to taking the popular Love Live practice staircase which is in actuality the side entrance. As with every other major shrine in Japan, the front of the shrine is often the location of a large ornate gate.

Having visited the year before, I was curious to see how things changed, if any at all, compared to the previous years. Knowing how shrine officials can be rather strict, preferring to preserve culture and tradition over excessive modernization, I was not expecting there to be much change. But upon entering the courtyard of the shrine, I was immediately proven wrong in that matter.

While the general structure and building in and around Kanda Shrine remained largely the same, the venerated shrine seemed to exude an entirely different atmosphere now. It may have been a scorching hot day with hardly any clouds in sight but, there were indeed a great deal of visitors both young and old, local and foreign.

Ever since the Kanda Shrine officially adopted Nozomi as its official mascot in early 2015, the Shrine has seen a great deal of transformation becoming a home to both devotees and anime fans. This year, the transformation has taken one step further with the recognition of more anime than just Love Live. Speaking of adopting Nozomi, did you know the shrine maidens in Kanda Shrine wear purple ribbons instead of the traditional red or white ones? This is a subtle nod to Nozomi's character who's character color is purple.

At the time of visiting, Is the Order a Rabbit? (Gochiusa) was the new featured anime to partner with Kanda Shrine. This included a series of promotional events and, most importantly, exclusive merchandise.

There were a whole host of exclusive merchandise on sale featuring various characters from the series dressed up as shrine maidens. It is important to point out that these merchandise were sold at an independent booth from the official shrine merchandise (ema, protective charms, etc.) booth. Rubber straps were the most popular merchandise with one character from the available seven having already sold out. 

Aside from Gochiusa merchandise, the original Love Live merchandise were also on sale for those who prefer to collect merchandise of the original ambassadors of the series. If you happen to be looking for more Love Live merchandise, remember to also check out the shrine's official merchandise booth where you will be able to collect several Nozomi Miko merchandise there.

Near the side entrance of the Kanda Shrine, the shrine has put up large posters of all the anime collaborations that it had done in the past. If you enter from the popular stairway entrance, there is no way you would miss these. I also love how size hierarchy is in play here where the original ambassadors from Muse have the largest poster compared to those which came after it. 

A closer look at the Gochiusa poster.

Then there is Sword Art Online, one of the most popular anime series.

Nozomi and Eli are not side by side? Blasphemous!

The weather that day was particularly hot and so, I took a short break in the air conditioned waiting area of the shrine.

Having visited Kanda Shrine twice now, I must admit that I was very impressed with the shrine official's proactive approach towards promoting the shrine. More than just resting on their laurels, they took the opportunity to collaborate with other popular anime to proper the popularity of the locale further. 

Having spent a good amount of time at the shrine, it was now time for to me to leave if not I would be running late for my next appointment. As it was a weekend, the main street of Akihabara was closed to allow for better pedestrian access. 

Between now and then, I wonder how Kanda Shrine will change the next time I visit it in a year's time. Only time will tell but, I am certainly looking forward to the changes next year. Until then, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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