Awashima Shrine is known as the shrine of “memorial dolls” (dolls given as offerings to the shrine) because of the countless dolls and figures that surround the main building and the grounds.  It stands apart from the other shrines of Japan in the otherworldly atmosphere it gives off.  Some say it has a psychic energy to it.

At the shrine there is said to be a doll with hair that grows.  Who knows if there are really ghosts in the world, but you certainly get the sense there is something “present” when confronted with these eerie yet peaceful guardians.

By looking at the photos, you can probably get some vibes, but to really feel their “overwhelming presence” you have to see them with your own eyes. There aren’t just traditional Japanese dolls here.

Stuffed animals, mysterious masks, tanuki, maneki neko, Hokkaido bears, inari, and zodiac figurines are among the various “dolls” living in the temple.  Unfortunately, the doll with growing hair is currently not open to the public.

According to Awashima’s official website, “the dolls are famous for the strange phenomenon they conjure.” Dolls tend to get a bad rap from their characterization in Child’s Play and the Twilight Zone, but these ones don’t necessarily cause bad phenomena.  In fact, the shrine explains malicious dolls are very “unlikely.”

Our reporter tells us he didn’t really feel any fear from these figures. “I couldn’t really get a sense of what the dolls were thinking, but they conveyed a sense of loneliness and calm at the same time.”

The dolls had been taken away from the loving hands of their owners, but in turn could spend their time in probably the most peaceful place possible. Their eyes in an eternal stare forward as is if they had purpose, you can’t help but get the feeling that there is life – or something else – in them.

Original Article and Photo’s: Kuzo

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