Book Of Adventure 11: In Search Of The Japanese Shrine

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                                  Stardate: 61991.5 (June 25th, 2012)

Recently 7 members including myself from the Singapore Paranormal Investigators had set on a quest for MacRitchie Reservoir for a mission. We are to embark on a search for the ruins of this Syonan Jinja, a Japanese Shinto Shrine dating back to WWII, and which is located deep within the dense jungles of MacRitchie.

This was been planned some time back, right after few of the members had completed a trip in regards about the reservoir. So I had decided to take this opportunity to set up this event, as this could be an experience where some of us may be looking forward to. At the same time, this could be my next adventure trip in finding a lost relic dating back during those hardship and suffering period.

Based on history, the Shinto Shrine was built to commemorate the Japanese soldiers who died fighting during the invasion of Singapore. This is where many Japanese religious and cultural ceremonies took place. The shrine was been destroyed when the British forces re-occupied Singapore. Now what remains were ruins of the shrine been covered by jungle vegetation. The crumbling steps that leads up to the temple, still visible to those who willing to look for it. As well as the stone fountain, and some remnants of the low stone wall that was believe to be part of the building.

Now, the shrine can only be best seen through archives. Those old photographs and drawing by the Japanese Imperial Army as well as the POWs who helped built the shrine.

I’ve read, many treasure hunters and so-called thrill seekers had come in search for this shrine. Some of them even came from other countries. Mostly historians. Willingly to do whatever it takes to find the shrine. It such a unique and extraordinary relic been abandoned as ruins. Such people, like historians wouldn’t want to miss this chance. An opportunity for them while it still there. The anticipation, that passion that drives them to find this place and to write up in their report, blog or even news once they got back.

Even for us. Not only we were paranormal investigators, but we are also being as explorers as we do came about to seek and explore such places when it came to our interest. Also, this ain’t the first time for SPI to discover the ruins. The first team had embark on the search back in 2004. So right now we are next team to set foot into the dense jungle of MacRitchie to rediscover the shrine. By no doubt, more members of ours who are yet to explore the place will embark there when their time comes.

So we are all prep for the expedition. We had study the map that we had dig out from a few blogs. The people who had explore the shrine were kind enough to mark out the location of the shrine and the possible routes for future explorers.

I had enlarge the portion of the area as an inset, as to where the
shrine is believed to be found. Most of the explorers who been there had actually make used of the so-called blown up bridge to travel across to the other side to get to the shrine. Like the shrine, even the bridge was been destroyed. What’s left now were just remnants of its pillars.

But instead, we took the alternative by starting off from this Terepong Trail, as suggested by one of our agents, who also lead us in as a navigator.

Map below where I had circle in red as our starting point.

So at the given time of 1430hrs, we began our expedition. All looking forward and spirits are high. But little do we know, we will soon faced the worst experience in our history as explorers…

We are fortunate to notice that previous explorers had actually tied ribbons onto some of the trees. As to guide new explorers like us in getting to the shrine easily. What luck indeed! But we still had to hook up with the map and compass. The ribbons will therefore serve as a guide to see whether are we on the right track.

As excepted, we will face some heavy obstacles along the way. Fallen trees, muddy path, overgrown grasses that will hinder your vision, uneven paths. Branches with scary sharp thorns! That’s the most annoying discovery we ever had to face! Besides this, we had to do a lot of bashing. Our objective is not only to locate the shrine. Cause the only way to find it was to lookout for its “landmark.” Its the crumbling granite steps that leads up to the shrine. That had gotten many past explorers to grew excited over it once found. The steps, as seen through photos can still be seen. Once you found the steps, you’ll know you are about to visit the ruins of Syonan Jinja.

We soon came across some kind of a bunker of some sort. Some of us assume this could be some kind of a water tank, because of the huge well below and some concrete pipes that was been connected to large sewer, which I think it is, outside. But other than that, we believe that it could be link with the shrine.

We came across more ribbons. Then link them to where we are on the map and by compass. Keep bashing and bashing, and soon came to set foot on a clear path that faced the reservoir. By then its already around 3plus. From the map shown, we just have to make one big semi circle in order to get to the shrine. That means to say the ruins were somewhere close. Our excitement grew as we kept on bashing through. But staying close to one path as possible. The vegetation were thicker at this point. But we got to carry on with our objective.

And soon, there it is! We found the landmark. The crumbling granite steps! We finally made it! Its like finally reaching home sweet home! Excitedly, we pose for the camera at the foot of the steps before climbing up the towering flight of steps. The 2nd badge of SPI Agents had successfully made it after going through all that bashing and endure those obstacles!

From up there, we began to explore the ruins. Photos taken below were the ruin sites, and also where we had start off and bashing through the jungle.

There’s actually a 3rd flight of steps, where it leads to the temple itself. But after many attempts searching for the steps, we decided to call it quits. We believe that the rest of the steps were been heavily covered by those thick clumps of vegetation. From where we are, this is the least we can explore. Besides, we wouldn’t want to stay too late as it is getting dark soon. By then, the time is 1645hrs as far as I can remembered. Its time to call it a day and return back to civilization.

And this is where we had face our worst experience ever! Before our biggest worry starts to took over our minds, we do found a way out. That leads to the blown up bridge, which were now left only with 5 pillars. Seems like impossible to move across it. However, I’ve seen through photos from those previous explorers. They actually move across the water. I was told it was knee deep. You can roll up your pants if you want to.

But the problem is, none of us wants to get wet. So is either we moved across the water. Or try moving across the battered bridge by making used of the pillars, the planks that was seen in-between the first 2 pillars that were facing us and those huge carbon pipes that were floating on the water.

And of course, alternatively we can try going back in the jungle and find another route out. Which we did, and turns out to be the biggest mistake we ever made. We should have try to walk across the blown up bridge or water in the 1st place. Cause there’s absolutely no other way out. All were jungle. We kept going up and down this endless terrain. Backtracking a couple of times. Even used the GPS to determine how close we are to any nearest exit.

We are running out of time! The sun was starting to set. We are hopelessy lost! And imagine the number of scars we get from those thorns! And seriously I feel like wanna pass out anytime soon. I was totally exhausted! Fear just took over me. We wouldn’t want to stay in the dark. Just imagine when darkness falls. No matter how tired we are, we got to keep on finding the way out.

At that point of time, the GPS shows that we are near to a trail. There’s still hope. We keep on moving, telling ourselves to stay together as one. But soon later we were shocked to find out that we are back again to the path where it leads us to the blown up bridge! Imagine the horror!

This is so devastating! Unbelievable! No way we going back from the way we came in. Can take an hour or two. And by then its already dark! Hell no! So, we made a final decision. To use the bridge. No choice, we just have to get half wet. That’s our only way out!

So here’s where the dedication through teamwork kicks in at the very last resort. So far, only 2 agents and myself dares to moves across the water. True, it was knee deep. But halfway across, we felt that the seabed below was a bit deep and the water reaches up to our stomachs. But its only for awhile before we felt some steps and we are back on knee level again.

And the rest, preferring to stay dry and decided to go for the toughest one. To move across the bridge by using the planks and the carbon pipes. The three of us who were soaked had to hold on to the pipes as the rest moved across. One slip and that’s it! We wouldn’t want to rush. We had to ensure to them to move one step at a time, and also make use of the pillars as support.

One of our 2 female agents somehow doesn’t feel any confidence of crossing the bridge like how the rest did. So the three of us had to somehow, carefully carried her from our backs. Starting from the first agent, he will move with her on his back and to the next agent, and then to me. Believe me. It wasn’t that easy when the person is screaming and panicking…..

And finally we made it through! What a nightmare that had been earlier when we were stuck in the jungle. All of us had reach the other side safe and sound. And wet, for the three of us. But its worth it all from all that teamwork and dedication! From all that walking, bashing, enduring every obstacles we had came across, we made it out in one piece.

Our mission is complete! A success! We may not be able to find that flight of steps that will take us to the temple. But nevertheless, we managed to discover the ruins. We had made it through. That is as far as we can go and we are truly satisfied of our quest.

Well done guys! Its truly an unforgettable experience! =)


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