Tsurugaoka_Hachimangu


Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

This is the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura.

Emperors Ojin and Chuai and Empress Jingu are enshrined in the main buildings.

The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, Shinto god of war and patron of the Minamoto clan
(Emperor Ojin was enshrined as Hachiman, as is mentioned on the Sumiyoshi Taisha page).

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu was founded in 1063 by Minamoto no Yoriyoshi as a branch shrine in Kyoto.
Originally located in Tsurugaoka near the coast (thus the name), it was moved to Kamakura by Minamoto
Yoritomo (first shogun of the Kamakura era) in 1180 to make it the core of his new planned city of Kamakura.
It was destroyed by a fire in 1191 and rebuilt in the present layout. Until the Meiji era, it also housed a
Shingon Buddhist temple, but when Meiji decreed that Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines
had to separate for political reasons, the statues and other treasures were sold off or
distributed to other temples. They also destroyed numerous Buddhist buildings.
This political decree caused irreparable damage to Japan’s cultural heritage.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Torii Two 0622

The torii gate at the beginning of the cherry-lined Dankazura part of Wakamiya Oji is actually
Ni no Torii (Torii 2). Ichi no Torii (AKA Hama no Torii, Great Beach Torii) is next to the sea.

The cherry-lined path between the two red torii (Ichi no Torii is a stone torii) is called Dankazura.
In the spring, as you can see from the image, it is covered with a canopy of cherry blossoms.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Dankazura 0623

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Dankazura 0624

Dankazura was built by Minamoto no Yoritomo when his wife was pregnant. Only a son could succeed him as shogun
(he had two daughters), so he built the raised 460 meter long pathway to the shrine as a prayer to Hachiman for a son in
1182. The path was modeled after Miyako Oji in Kyoto, and was originally 33 meters wide with a moat on each side.

After Sanetomo was born, Yoritomo had the entire path from the sea to the shrine renamed Wakamiya-oji
(Young Prince Avenue). In 1878, the section between Torii One and Torii Two was turned into a street.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Torii Three 0625

At the end of the Dankazura, San no Torii stands over the front courtyard of the shrine.
Directly in front is an arched bridge (Akabashi, Red Bridge), flanked by two flatter bridges.
The center bridge used to be reserved for the shoguns use only... others used either of the flatter
bridges alongside. The bridges span two ponds, built by Yoritomo’s wife Masako and called Genpei.
The Gen stands for Minamoto and Pei stands for their archrivals, the Taira clan. In the summer,
lotus cover the ponds. The larger Gen pond had white flowers (symbolizing purity), and the
smaller Pei pond had red flowers (today, each pond has both red and white). The larger
Gen pond has three islands (symbolizing birth or creating something) and the Pei
pond has four islands (symbolizing death). Masako really hated the Taira clan.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Akabashi 0626

The stone arched bridge which used to be reserved
only for the Shogun’s use (others used the flat bridges).

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Akabashi 0688

This taiko bashi is called Akabashi (Red Bridge),
as the original was made of wood and painted red.
This was taken an hour after the previous image.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Akabashi 0627

This sort of bridge is usually called a Taiko Bashi (drum bridge), since the reflection in the water
makes it look like a drum. It spans the canal connecting the two Gen-pei ponds. The ponds are named
Gen (Minamoto) and Pei (Taira) for the clans that fought each other in Shogun Minamoto Yoritomo’s time.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Ishidoro 0629

A monumental ishidoro stone lantern standing
near the chozuya purification pavilion shown below.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Chozuya 0631

The Chozuya (purification pavilion). Visitors wash their
hands and rinse their mouths before entering the shrine.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Maiden Wakamiya-sha 0632

Maiden (dance stage) is where ritual dances are performed during festivals. The dance performed on this stage commemorates the Lady Shizuka, sweetheart of Yoshitsune (half-brother of Yoritomo), who had to perform the dance unwillingly for Yoritomo and his family in 1186.

Yoritomo had become angry with Yoshitsune and ordered his death. When he and Shizuka were in flight from this sentence, Shizuka was caught and brought back. She was known as an great dancer, and Yoritomo tried unsuccessfully to get her to dance for him, but she refused. Finally persuaded by Masako, she danced and sang a song expressing her love for the fugitive Yoshitsune, which infuriated Yoritomo.

She was pregnant at the time, and Yoritomo ordered her baby killed if it was a boy (her boy was killed and thrown on the beach at Kamakura.)

Right of the Maiden is the Junior Shrine (Wakamiya-sha), built at the site where Minamoto built the first Hachiman Shrine.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Maiden 0633

Behind the Maiden (Dance Stage) you can see the 61 stone steps leading up to the Hongu (senior shrine).

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Koma-Inu Assassin Gingko 0634

In March 2010, after standing next to the steps since just after the shrine
was established, the 1000-year-old Assassin Gingko was uprooted and fell
in a storm. Part of the trunk and the stump itself were replanted, and they
 are now growing new leaves, so it looks as if the old fellow has survived.

At the base of the steps to the Hongu is this thousand year old Gingko tree
(and a truly unusual ancient Koma-inu). This is the site of the assassination of
Minamoto Sanetomo (3rd Shogun) by his nephew Kugyo, son of the 2nd Shogun.
Kugyo hid behind the Gingko, and when Sanetomo was climbing up to the Honden
Kugyo leaped out and decapitated him with a sword (his head was never found).
He also killed the shogun’s swordbearer, thinking it was the son of the Regent
(who had left early due to illness). He then declared himself Shogun to his
friend (and likely co-conspirator) Muira Yoshimura, but since Kugyo had
not actually killed Hojo Yoshitoki (son of the Regent), then Yoshimura
had to betray Kugyo to Yoshitoki, who had the assassin killed.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu 0636

The Hongu Tower Gate of the Senior Shrine.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu 0648

The obligatory dramatic oblique wide-angle.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Haiden Taiko 0645

A detail shot showing the taiko (drum)
and a small part of the Haiden Oratory.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Tower Gate 0647

Another of those dramatic wide-angle shots, this one
showing the roof-line of the Treasure House (left) and
the Tower Gate (right), lower detail is shown below.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Treasure House Tower Gate 0644

A detail shot showing the end of the Treasure House (left) and the inner area below the roof of the Tower Gate.
Instead of Nio (kongo rishiki), the Tower Gate contains two court nobles in formal dress as guardians (made in 1624).

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Treasure House Guardian 0637

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Treasure House Guardian 0638

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Mikoshi 0639

Left of the Honden is the Treasure House,
in which a number of valuable objects are
displayed. Among them are seven Mikoshi
(17th c. palanquins for the transport of the
deities during festivals). These are also
sometimes called portable shrines).

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Yui Wakamiya 0649

The Yui Wakamiya Yohaijo shrine
This small hilltop shrine was created for the
Shogun to be able to pray at the first shrine
(Yui Wakamiya or Moto Hachiman) without
having to go to Zaimokusa where it is located.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shirahata Karamon 0654

Karamon (arched gate) over the Shirahata
(White Flag) sub-shrine. It was built in 1200 and
dedicated to Yoritomo and his son Sanetomo.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Stele 0651

A monumental stele located near the Yui Wakamiya
Yohaijo shrine. The kanji is so old-fashioned I cannot get
a translation to find out what it is, but it is very impressive.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu 0650

A radically hipped roof line and painted mural adorn this building at the end of the Treasure House.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Sakura 0656

The Gen pond (Minamoto pond) created by Masako, with cherry blossoms covering
the surface, and the peony garden on the opposite side. Three shots of peonies are below
(there are 12 images of Peonies from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Peony Garden on Photoshelter).

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu peony 0670

The peony garden was opened in 1980 to
commemorate the 800th anniversary of the
founding of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
There are 200 species and over 2000 peony
plants blooming from mid-April to late May.

I arrived in Japan for Cherry Blossom season,
and the peony flowers were also in full bloom.
The final bonus was that they were having the
Peony Festival when I arrived in Kamakura.

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu peony 0667

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu peony 0662

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Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Sakura 0669

A view of the peony garden beyond the sakura-strewn Gen pond.

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Parasol 0684

A traditional parasol just outside the peony garden.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

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