Most visitors to MacRitchie Reservoir do not know there is a Shinto Shrine there let alone how to get there. While I knew about its existence long ago, I never actually had the time to look for it until one fine day recently. A group of us regular runners at MacRitchie decided to detour to look for the mysterious shrine.
Fortunately 2 of us within the group knew or thought they knew where the entrance was and so we went into a trail that they pointed to. Previously I laughed when I read of people getting lost in MacRitchie but I can now understand how people can get lost there. The initial way in was quite messy with a not so clearly marked trail and there were too many turnings and everything trees and branches look the same. It seems so possible to keep walking around in circle and circle. And there were many obstacles like fallen trees
And weird looking plants
But eventually we did found a more clear trail and followed it and before long, we found the first part of the shrine which appears to be some sort of pump house with a sump just outside it.
From here, it was just a short walk up some steps before we came to this.
This we believe is the commonly found water trough that is present in most Shinto Shrine used for purification before the worshipper goes into the Shrine. The trough was filled with water and lots of tadpole! I guess that will take care of the mosquitoes.
Another hop and skip away and we reached what was the location of the shrine but all that were left were some stones. The Shrine was demolished when the Japanese pull out of Singapore after the war. So nothing much to see there.
What was more exciting was the discovery of a geocache that was left behind by earlier visitors. One naughty lady friend promptly contributed a “rubber” to the collection. Makes me wonder why she was carrying it during a run?
After that it was a walk down a long flight of stairs
and which led us to the edge of the reservoir facing the golf course.We walked along the edge of the reservoir and came to this clear path which we thought could lead us back to the Amenities Centre without us having to back track. But unfortunately it fall short of the golf course side and ends at the water with a big metal barricade.
So that ends our little exploration to the Shinto Shrine. Nothing really much to see and not a runnable trail. We were told subsequently that the Shrine area is out of bounds although we did not see any No Entry sign when we entered the trail head. That could be because we may have went in from the wrong place and there was indeed a sign further up the path.
Anyway, for those who wish to look for the shrine, be warned you enter at your own risk and may or may not lose your way or be caught by Nparks in which case you may end up facing a big fine.
For more information on the Shinto Shrine, read this: http://blog.omy.sg/jerome/2014/04/07/the-shrine-across-the-divine-bridge/