It was around this time of the year, maybe some week later, when we opened our guide and we read about Shingo. We had a day off from the shooting of the documentary, and we decided to explore the area around Misawa and the Towada-ko (the big lake of the region); when we read about Shingo we couldn’t resist!
Shingo is the Tomb of Jesus
Yes, you read correctly. According to the local legend, Jesus never died crucified in Jerusalem; he somehow managed to escape and ran off to Japan, while his younger brother took his place and died on the cross.
Yes, again you read correctly. The one who ended up on the cross was actually Jesus’ brother.
I want to reassure anyone who may start having troubles in going on with the reading: this is a legend, no-one actually believes it, not even people living in Shingo. It’s a tradition emerged in the 1936s, from some apocryphal documents (conveniently destroyed during WWII…), with the clear intent to attract some tourism in the area.
A buddhist cemetery and two crosses
When you arrive at the parking lot, you immediately find the proper indications to reach the tomb, and you begin to walk on a small hill covered by woods; after a brief 5-minutes walk, you reach a quiet opening, with a small buddhist cemetery on the left, and a high ground on the right. Here, on top of a small stairway, you finally reach two high, very simple wooden cross who are supposedly the tombs of Jesus and his younger brother.
You can also have a quick read of the legend, explaining you how Jesus visited Japan when he was 21 and stayed there to acquire a deeper philosophical knowledge; when he was 33 he returned to Judea to teach what he had learnt, but Judea was not ready, and he fled again and ended up in Shingo, marrying a local woman (and later having three children).
Bonus, here I also share with you a video by Edmondo Perrone, a sort of travel diary of our visit to Shingo (it’s in Italian, but you may enjoy it nonetheless, I think!)
If you want some more info about the amazing North, I suggest you take a look here!