Yukikami Shrine

General Description

Yukikami Shrine is situated in roughly half an acre of land between two suburbs towards the outer city. Past the archway at the entrance, twenty stone steps lead up to a plateau where the shrine building itself lies, at the end of a short tree-lined avenue. The building itself is designed in a traditional Japanese design, and looks fairly impressive despite its small size.

Inside, beyond the building's double front doors, virtually the whole of the ground floor is one single room. The room is lavishly decorated in white, silver and gold, and looks as if has been meticulously tidied - in fact, it's almost too perfect; as if someone devotes the majority of their time to making sure everything in this room is flawless.

The priest of the shrine, Suzumiya Hiroshi, is a relaxed and friendly person, and he seems to always be happy to chat to visitors. His wife, Shima, can often be seen around the shrine, but always seems to be busy and on her way to deal with something important. The family, including two school-age daughters, live on the upper floor of the shrine building, whereas the lower floor is reserved solely for religious use.

Seasonal Description: Winter

The trees that lead up to the shrine building are stark and bare, and the ground underfoot is slippery and icy. The shrine looks slightly out-of-place - an almost bright red-coloured building set amongst dreary landscape and dreary skies. Inside, the atmosphere is warm and inviting despite the weather outside. More than ever, Shima seems preoccupied with other concerns, although she never fails to be polite and proper to visitors. Hiroshi seems to have an extra glow to his cheeks, although whether that's due to the heating or the amount of warm sake he drinks on cold days is a mystery.

Seasonal Description: Spring

The shrine seems almost to nestle in amongst its surrounding trees as it is seen from the top of the steps. The cherry trees that line the path are in full bloom, a vibrant wash of pink and white that cascades in occasional flurries to the ground. The bright sun in the blue sky overhead casts its warming light across the grounds, and across the shrine building itself whose windows cast sparkling reflections. Inside, the normal white colouring of the shrine's decoration is tinged with greens and pinks. At this time of year the shrine's doors are often left wide open, and this easygoing and relaxed attitude pervades the shrine's staff as well.

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