Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura, Once the Centre of Japan

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura, Once the Centre of Japan

Kanagawa 2014.07.01

Translated byMasahisa Matsunuma

Tohoku Reconstruction Coordinator and Business Consultant. Been to 44 out of 47 prefectures of Japan. Loves sake and wine.

Written by TakahashiChuya

Don't Miss Tsurugaoka Hachimangu If You Visit Kamakura!

Among a variety of domestic tourist destinations, Kamakura, with its proximity to Tokyo, has many day-trip tourists. In this article, let me introduce you to Tsurugaoka-Hachimangu in the heart of Kamakura!

Role of Kamakura in Japanese History

When the Kamakura Bakufu(more or less a military government; 幕府) was established about 800 years ago in 1185, the real power of the state became more concentrated in Kamakura, which became the nation's political, economical and cultural centre.

Kyoto had been the centre of Japan before that, but Minamoto-no-Yoritomo(the shogun of Kamakura Bakufu; 源頼朝) set up his base in Kamakura and started building the country there. As the most important shrine of Kamakura, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is a historic monument still with the quaint atmosphere of the ancient times. Now let's take a look at it.

Take Dankazura to the Shrine

Dankazura(段葛) is a 450-metre long, raised pedestrian pathway to the shrine. There are cherry trees planted along both sides of the pathway and they usually start to bloom sometime from late March to mid April.
Walking on the dankazura surrounded by fully bloomed cherries is a special Kamakura experience.

They were not fully bloomed yet at the time of the photo, but when they are at full bloom, you can see beautiful cherry blossom arches!

Relationship Between Doves and Hachimangu Shrines

When you get to the precincts of the shrine, there are a lot of doves waiting for you. You know what, these doves have a close relationship with the Hachimangu shrines!

Well, there are many other Hachimangu shrines throughout the country besides Tsurugaoka Hachimangu such as Usa Jingu in Oita and Iwashimizu Hachimangu in Kyoto. A legend has it that when the divided deity of Usa Jingu was transferred to Iwashimizu Hachimangu, the deity was guided by doves.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu was originally built in a different location. Its deity might have also been guided by doves when it relocated.
To worship those doves, the name board of the shrine includes two doves which form the charcter "八".

Efficacious Benefits Bestowed by Tsurugaoka Hachimangu upon Visitors

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is known for offering prayers good luck in many categories so visitors pray for various things such as love, health and school work.


As some call it the ancient city of Kamakura, there are numerous historical sites in the city. Look around and feel the history.


Ema(絵馬) are small wooden plaques on which visitors of shrines or temples write their wishes or prayers. They usually have pictures on them.



Address: 2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Phone: 0467-22-0315
Access: 15 min walk from east exit of Kamakura station

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