Visit Tanashi Shrine to Honor the Five Dragon Gods During the Year of the Dragon

Visit Tanashi Shrine to Honor the Five Dragon Gods During the Year of the Dragon


As we welcome the Year of the Dragon in 2024, there is a sense of optimism and anticipation among many. In Japan, embracing the New Year involves a tradition known as hatsumode (初詣), where people embark on their first shrine visit of the year. Typically, devotees may choose to visit a shrine that holds personal significance or one that is conveniently located near their homes. However, this year, the spotlight falls on a particular sanctuary that is drawing considerable attention: Tanashi Shrine (田無神社). Renowned for its connection with dragons, Tanashi Shrine has become a focal point for visitors during this Dragon Year.



Tanashi Shrine is located in western Tokyo. For travelers venturing from Tokyo, the journey is a bit lengthy but worthwhile.

1. Starting from Shibuya: From Shibuya Station take the Keio Inokashira Line to Kichijoji Station. From there, hop on bus no. 64, which takes you close to the shrine. This route typically takes about 50 minutes.

2. Starting from Shinjuku: Take the Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Kichijoji Station. From there, hop on bus no. 64, which takes you close to the shrine. This route usually takes around 45 minutes.

Regardless of your choice, the journey generally spans 45-50 minutes. For those seeking alternative routes, Google Maps offers up-to-date guidance tailored to your location.


Tanashi Shrine


Tanashi Shrine (田無神社) traces its origins back to the Kamakura period (13th century). The shrine is believed to be the abode of deities presiding over rain, water, and wind. Unlike typical shrines that are dedicated to a single deity, Tanashi Shrine stands out with its ensemble of five dragon gods. This unique aspect has earned it the reputation as the premier destination for channeling dragon power in Japan. The shrine’s fame has attracted celebrities, athletes, and other prominent figures, who come to seek blessings and spiritual guidance.


During the Year of the Dragon, Tanashi Shrine sees a surge in visitors, especially in January for the first shrine visit of the year. Visitors, intrigued by the shrine's distinct reverence for the dragon deities, are advised to allocate sufficient time for their visit. Paying respects at the first statue alone may entail a wait of about 30-40 minutes, a testament to the shrine’s significance.

Dragons Abound


Tanashi Shrine is a realm where the majesty of dragons is not just revered but vividly manifested. Regular visitors to Japan are familiar with the custom of purifying at shrines and temples, washing hands at a chōzu-ya or temizu-ya (water ablution pavilion) before entering the sacred space. Tanashi Shrine elevates this experience with its White Water Dragon (白龍の水). This graceful white dragon, surrounded with vibrant roses, sets a mystical tone for the shrine.

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tanakashi_dragon14.JPGThe shrine grounds are dotted with chōzu-ya that are embellished with flowers and various plants, each associated with different dragon gods.


The Blue Dragon area, for example, features a pond that complements the dragon-themed decor surrounding it. Visitors can explore the shrine and discover dragons in various forms – from carvings to sculptures – each uniquely representing the five dragon gods.


The temple itself is home to intricate dragon carvings, with the most notable ones on the main hall, dating back to 1875. These carvings are the handiwork of a local carpenter, inspired by Shunpyo Shimamura, reminiscent of those at Kawagoe Shrine. While some areas of the shrine are restricted, the design intentionally allows for visibility of these masterpieces from various points outside.


Every element at Tanashi Shrine, from the meticulous dragon sculptures to the thoughtfully designed ponds, contributes to an immersive and spiritually enriching experience. It’s a sanctuary where the reverence for dragons transcends mere worship.

Five Dragon Gods


Tanashi Shrine, renowned for its five dragon gods, is celebrated as the most powerful dragon shrine. A visit here is a journey of spiritual discovery, as each dragon god possesses unique powers and offers distinct blessings. Visitors can use a map to locate each deity, a process that takes longer than at typical shrines due to the multiple worship sites.

Golden Dragon


As you enter the shrine and proceed through the corridor, you reach the main hall where the Golden Dragon God resides. This deity is believed to elevate one's luck and bring happiness. Being in the main temple, the Golden Dragon God is the most sought after, often resulting in the longest queue.

Blue Dragon


The Blue Dragon God, located to the right of the Golden Dragon God, can be found at the innermost corner, near the Blue Dragon Pond. This god enhances specialized skills and career success. Those aspiring for professional growth and good fortune in their careers are encouraged to worship the Blue Dragon God.

Black Dragon


Situated to the left of the Golden Dragon God and near the shrine's back exit, the Black Dragon God stands elevated above the others. Symbolizing winter, this deity is associated with health, family harmony, and is ideal for those seeking to initiate new ventures or break old habits.

White Dragon


The White Dragon God, located to the left of the main entrance, is visible even from the shrine gate. Representing autumn, this god is known for boosting financial prosperity and success. It is particularly revered by those seeking mental clarity and readiness for new beginnings.

Red Dragon


Found to the right after passing through the shrine's torii (gate), the Red Dragon God is the guardian of the south and emblematic of summer. This deity is believed to enhance competitive luck and efficiency, making it a popular choice for those aiming to improve their intuitive and competitive skills.

Each dragon god at Tanashi Shrine offers a unique spiritual experience, allowing visitors to tailor their worship according to personal aspirations and needs.

Buy a Dragon Amulet


At Tanashi Shrine, embracing risk and seeking fortune takes on a playful and mystical dimension. For a mere 100 yen, visitors can indulge in a unique form of fortune-telling. Drawing a piece of paper reveals one's overall fortune, while a more interactive option involves fishing for luck. By casting a line with a fishing rod, you can fish out a prophecy concealed within the belly of a faux fish.



You can also buy amulets featuring the five dragon gods, each for 500 yen. These charming dragon-themed amulets are not just adorable; they embody the spirit and essence of the shrine. Anyone wishing to bring a piece of this mystical energy into their home would find these amulets an excellent choice.


For those inclined towards traditional practices, writing prayers on ema (votive plaques) is a beautiful way to express wishes. These plaques, adorned with intricate dragon patterns, can be purchased and hung near the Black Dragon God. The purchase point for these ema is conveniently located to the right of the Golden Dragon.



Tanashi Shrine also offers a range of lucky charms beyond the dragon-themed ones, catering to diverse needs like finances, love, work, safe childbirth, and health. These are available in various sizes, colors, and designs. Despite the popularity of these items, often leading to long lines, the shrine thoughtfully displays them above the crowds for easier selection.


Of special note are the amulets associated with the five dragon gods, distinguishable by their unique colors and packaging. These are particularly sought after, as they symbolize the protective and luck-enhancing qualities of each dragon deity.

Lucky Direction for the Year 2024


For 2024, the protective influence of dragon gods is as follows: the White Dragon God in the north, the Red Dragon God in the south, the Sky Dragon God in the east, and again the White Dragon God in the west. Central to this is the Golden Dragon God, who reveals the auspicious direction for the year – for 2024, it's north to northeast.


In addition, you can also check if the year you were born in is lucky or not. Age numbers are located in the lower left, with separate tables for men and women.tanakashi_dragon17.JPG

This practice, deeply rooted in religious and personal belief, intertwines Buddhist and Shinto elements. For believers, a visit to Tanashi Shrine could potentially enhance their fortunes in the Year of the Dragon. Even for those not driven by faith, the shrine remains an enthralling destination, offering a chance to appreciate its exquisite sculptures and serene atmosphere.


Open 24 hours

Official website: https://tanashijinja.or.jp/prayer.html

Google map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/exyyiBtyq9rQsqNP6

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