Kashima Jingu Shrine in Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture is said to have been built in 660 BC and is a high-class palace with many national treasures and important national cultural assets. It is also known that the god of military power is enshrined and athletes pray for victory. What kind of power is hidden in the grand head shrine of Kashima Shrine, which is the oldest and largest shrine in the Kanto region and about 600 nationwide?
About 10 minutes on foot from Japan Railway Kashima Line / Kashima Jingu Station. As you walk along the approach, you will see Otorii, the entrance to Kashima Jingu.
This torii is actually a new one that was just completed in June 2014. Previously, it was the largest granite torii made in Japan, but it cracked and collapsed in the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The present Otorii was built by cutting four carefully selected cedar sacred trees from the precinct forest. The “Kasagi” lying on top is about 600 years old, the second “Nuki” is 250 years old, and the two pillars are 500 years old.
When you step into the precincts, you can feel the air sacred.
Romon Gate, whose vermilion is brilliant, was dedicated to Tokugawa Yorifusa, the first lord of the Mito Domain in 1634, and has been designated as an important cultural property of the country. It is said that when the Tokugawa family general Iemitshu fell ill, Yorifusa prayed to Kashima Jingu and recovered and donated. Because of its beautiful shape, it is counted as one of the three largest Romon Gates in Japan, along with Hakozakigu Shrine in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, and Aso Shrine in Aso City, Kumamoto Prefecture.
As soon as you pass through the Romon Gate, you will find a worship hall and a main hall on your right and a conferment center and a treasure house on your left. The back of the worship hall continues to Heiden Hall and the stone pavement, and the main hall is at the back. And behind the main shrine is a goshinboku (sacred tree) cedar tree. Going further, a severe shrine appeared. This is the former main hall called “Okunomiya”.
After praying to Kashima Jingu Shrine, it was dedicated in 1605 by Ieyasu Tokugawa, who won the battle in Sekigahara. It was originally located at the current main shrine, but it was transferred to this site during the subsequent construction. Okunomiya, nestled in the forest, is surrounded by harsh air and looks more divine.
Another sacred place you should not miss is “Mitarashi Pond”. If you come back to Okunomiya, go to the left.
It has long been used as a place for “misogi” (purification ceremony). Regardless of whether a child enters or an adult, the water level is at the same chest level, making it one of the seven wonders. Even now, as many as 200 people perform “Daikan MIsogi” in the cold weather every year.
Kashima-jingu Shrine in Kashima-shi, Ibaraki. It is the grand head shrine of “Kashima-jinja Shrine” that is approximately 600 in the whole country and is a shrine which is proud of long history.
It is the oldest shrine in Kanto and is a guardian deity of an overall community which protects the east of Kanto area with the Katori Shinto shrine. The enshrined deity is Takemikazuchi no Onokami who is the strongest god of war of the Japanese myth, and victorious God.
Its foundation is B.C. 660 years which are a year as the first Emperor Jimmu Tenno acceded to the throne.
It is foundation approximately 2,700 years same as Japanese Koki (Imperial era). It is historical old shrine to reach at the present with the history of Japan.
There are a lot of Shinto shrines with the name of “Jingu” now. However, only Kashima-jingu and Katori-jingu were called the “Jingu” other than Ise from the Heian period.
When you enter the precincts, the vermillion-painted very beautiful two-storied gate will go into your eyes at first. By the dedication in 1634 of the Edo period, it is designated as the important cultural property of the country. If you pass through this two-storied gate, it is the world completely isolated from the outer world with the atmosphere of ancient times. It is the gate of the border of our everyday world and divine space.
There is the spot especially filled with a peculiar atmosphere also in Kashima-jingu. It is the Okunomiya (rear shrine). Since you need to follow the approach about 300 meters from the main shrine, there are many people missing it, but it is a spot which should certainly be visited.
You will be probably overwhelmed by the calm atmosphere which drifts on around of the Okunomiya. It is the appearance suitable to God of war in character with a simple and not sophisticated.
The “Mitarashi-ike pond” in the very back of the precincts of the shrine is the spot which should be visited. The springwater is gushing without ceasing, and only looking at the transparent pond, and feel that the heart may be purified.
“The woods in Kashima-jingu” specified as the natural treasure is about 700,000 square meters, and the plants exceeding 800 sorts have grown thick and is precious also as a northern limit of an evergreen broad-leaved forest.
|Address:||Kyuchu2306-1 Kashima, Ibaraki 314-0031 Japan|
|Access:||JR Kashima-sen Line “Kashima-jingu-eki Station” (6 minutes walk)|