The Shinshu Suwa Grand Shrine started life when it was dedicated to the Shinto deity, Takeminakata, in 811. This historic place of worship has been venerated by the people of Suwa for over 1,200 years.
The road leads to the main gate that stands in front of the impressive hall of worship. Located behind this are three further shrines, Suwa Shrine, Yawata Shrine and Inari Shrine. Other shrines within the grounds include the Hoso Shrine and Me-No-Kamisama Shrine. The open area in front of the main hall of worship is a particularly tranquil section of the extensive grounds.
The festival held during the last weekend in August always draws a crowd and features traditional lion costume dancing and sumo wrestling. There is an antique market at the shrine on the 4th Sunday of every month and a Tori-no-Ichi fair is held every November.
A single road separates the shrine complex from the Suwa Forest Park that extends to the north. This forest was previously attached to the shrine and some of the old trees within the ground serve as a reminder of its past.