In the final days of my time in Japan last September I visited Kamakura, the capital of Kanagawa prefecture just south of Tokyo. I originally expected to go there and have the Great Buddha of Kamakura being my only highlight but after inquiring about Shinto shrines and the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism and their importance to the Japanese people a few days earlier I was encouraged by a Japanese friend I met through a Jamaican friend living in Japan to visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu a Shinto Shrine at the heart of Kamakura.
The walk from Kamakura station to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is very interesting with various shops and other establishments selling very reasonably priced items, but alas at this point if my rip I had burned through all my money and missed out on some awesome hand-crafted wooden and metal items. We arrived at the shrine in the middle of a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony and I managed to grab some footage of it which Is included in a video embedded below.
Great short trip from Tokyo
The shrine itself is a good attraction and the prefect short trip for visitors based in Tokyo. I could definitely see myself going back as I have learned that the shine opens as early as 5am on certain days and as a photographer I can imagine how dreamy the shrine would look when photographed in early morning light.
History of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gÅ«
TsurugaokaHachimangu was established by Minamoto Yoriyoshi (æº é ¼ç¾©, 988-1075) in 1063. He built the foundations for the Minamoto warrior clan in the east of Japan after the suppression of the rebellion in 1062. He returned to Kamakura, and built a small shrine for the Hachimankami (the Japanese word for Shinto deities or sacred beings) near the coast by way of thanks for success in suppressing the rebellion.
The presentdayTsurugaokaHachimangu owes its origins to Yoriyoshiâ€™s descendant, Minamoto Yoritomo (æº é ¼æœ, 1147-1199), head of the Minamoto clan. Yoritomo came to Kamakura to raise the flag of revolt against Taira clan in 1180. The reason he chose Kamakura as his base was because it was here that his great ancestor had successfully put down the 1063 rebellion. He moved the shrine to the present site and built a more magnificent shrine. This new shrine was called TsurugaokaWakamiya (é¶´å²¡è‹¥å®®), which means the new shrine at Tsurugaoka.
The Heian period was coming to an end, and the power of the aristocracy was being transferred to the military class. The conflict between the Taira and Minamoto clans resulted in victory for the Minamoto clan, and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate.
Read more on the official website which also has a calendar of events, frequently asked questions and lots more information – www.tsurugaoka-hachimangu.jp