Japan’s Largest Owl

On January 6th, I posted about my trip to see the Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan. There’s not just a great old shrine and a colossally old tree, though.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
Japan's largest owl, you say?

On the short walk from the parking lot to the shrine grounds, there is a stairway up to the left, and a sign that boasts Japan’s Largest Owl. Indeed, as you wander around the grounds, you can see many owl statues, and the shrine is nicknamed “Owl Shrine”. Of course, there is also a play on words here, something akin to “let go of your worries” or something.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
Look, it's an owl!
The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
And another, cuter owl!
The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
OMG ADORABLE OWLS 😀
The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
This one's more of a wise Owl-of-Hundred-Acre-Wood type. This one wasn't voiced by Craig Ferguson, though.
The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
The ablution fountain also features an owl.

But the largest owl of all, the largest owl in Japan, was at the top of those very first steps I encountered.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #84 The Thousand-Year Cryptomeria of Torinokosan
Behold! The magical LARGEST OWL IN JAPAN. BEHOLD IT!

Beneath the owl is a spot to write a letter, describing your troubles and letting them go and praying for help with them. You then seal the letter and post it in the Owl Post that is located there. It’s not real mail, of course, it stays at the shrine. One assumes someone will offer a blessing over them before burning them.

The entire thing seems pretty tourist-trappy to me, but I guess if something like this attracts visitors who then go on to visit the shrine proper, and buy food and drink and charms and souvenirs, supporting the continued existence of this place, then it’s not so bad.

One thought on “Japan’s Largest Owl”

  1. That last owl looks like a sparrow that had too much coffee. PS: I’m getting used to the dearth of tree photos. The substitute posts are rather nice, actually. OK, next? ^^

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