“The Grand Torii of the Hakone Shrine standing in the Hakone Lake hears a tablet in the handwriting of exprime Minister Shigeru Yoshida who by signing the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 set the Japanese nation marching on the road of peace and democracy. In October 1964 the Hakone Shrine held a solemn prayer service for world peace to mark its 1,200th anniversary and also to commermorate the Tokyo Olympic Games then in progress. Yoshida the accomplished calligrapher took out his writing brush and wrote two ideographs “Peace” and “Friendships” on a Special sheet of paper and presented it to the shrine. This is the origin of the Torii Tablet which bespeaks the fervent aspirations of the new Japan to international peace and amity. This shrine gate is hereby renamed Peace Torii and bequeathed to posterity to be cherished by all generations forever.”
–direct quote from the 25 October 1964 plaque entitled “The Peace Torii of Hakone Shrine”Weather: 25 degrees F, sunny. Oh hello tiny cold people trying not to slip on the ice and careen into Lake Ashi. Ichi, ni, san—cheeeeezu! Hai! There are 99 steps from the torii gate on the lake up to Hakone Jinju, or shrine, settled into the side of Mt. Hakone. No one’s quite sure exactly how old the shrine is. It was an important samurai shrine when the nearby Hakone Checkpoint was in use, but before that it had just sort of been here. The general thought it that it was moved to Mt. Hakone from somewhere else in the 700s. The buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt since then in this location.