Follow the long gravel paths under Maruyama Park's tall cypress trees until you come to the main gate of what looks like a fortress. Before entering, wash your hands and rinse your mouth at the stone basin, then climb the stone steps to Hokkaido's lovliest Shinto shrine. Hokkaido Jingu, originally built in 1871, honors the gods of land and nature, of land development, and of healing. To this day, families with babies, anxious students facing exams, and young engaged couples
seek blessings under Shinto ceremonies. In May this is the city's main viewing spot for cherry blossoms, and on as the year comes to a close it's coin-tossing central for those wishing for a better future. The shrine is a 15-minute walk from Maruyama Koen Subway Station.