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Syonan Jinja, MacRitchie Reservoir – Singapore Heritage Trail

In one of Singapore’s darkest history, the then British Colony was under Japanese rule for three years and eight months. During the Japanese Occupation, several landmarks were erected by the invaders to propagate and influence the locals of the Japanese culture.

Syonan Jinja, MacRitchie Reservoir

Deep within the largest forested area in the Central Catchment Area hides the remains of a Shinto Shrine. It was built by the Japanese Imperial Army to commemorate the sacrifices of the Japanese soldiers who fought the war. Syonan Jinja, MacRitchie Reservoir was constructed across the Divine Bridge. It was to be the grandest Shrine of the Japanese Southern Conquest and lavishly designed after the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. However, upon return to British rule, the Shrine was burnt and destroyed, leaving Mother Nature to engulf this little piece of history in Singapore books.

Syonan Jinja, MacRitchie Reservoir

Syonan Jinja, MacRitchie Reservoir Credit: Kanagawa University

Start of the Heritage Trail

The start of the track is off the Terentang Trail, from both Rifle Range Rd or the Venus Carpark entrance. The three rocks demarcate the start of an exciting trail off the grids into the dense primary forest of the largest nature reserve in Singapore.

Terentang Trail

Terentang Trail, Trail markers left by previous explorers

trail-markers-2

trail-markers

 

 

Like minded adventurers had kindly left markers on trees to lead us on beaten tracks for our objective. However, many times we were left scampering for the next marker and ended up bashing through the thorny vegetation as we lost sight and location of the previous ones. Stooping under branches and climbing over fallen logs, in about three hours, we finally saw a structure, which resembled the top of the shrine, along with several concrete slabs and tiles.

 

 

 

 

The prominent structures that remained in the vicinity included a relic pump house, a water basin and several ruptured pillars. Further on, we found the main stairways of the shrine, albeit it being covered mostly by overlying vegetation.

Relic Pump House

Relic Pump House

Water Basin

Water Basin

Steps to the bottom of the shrine

Steps to the bottom of the shrine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This place leaves much to the imagination as we close our eyes to embrace this peaceful site before it falls to further disrepair. The journey to discover this historical landmark is exceedingly satisfying as it entails being out of our comfort zone and venturing into the unknown forest. On our way back, we lost track of the trails again but made it out eventually by bashing in the general direction. A great heritage trail for the adventurous.

There are numerous other unique nature attractions in Singapore. Take a look now, for more nature travel ideas that are uniquely Singapore. You can book a local guide from travelbuddee.com to take you to one of these journies!