Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Attraction > Shrine
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu for Japan Travel Packages (JapanTravelPackages.com)
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu for Japan Travel Packages (JapanTravelPackages.com)

Although the big Buddha across town gets his picture taken a lot, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is the most popular destination for tourists, mainly Japanese.  Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura Japan. The shrine hosts many of Kamakura's festivals and has two museums on its grounds.  Founded in 1063 by Minamoto Yoriyoshi at a slightly different spot, the shrine was enlarged and moved to its current location in 1180 by Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura government.

The shrine is dedicated to the god "Hachiman", the patron god of the Minamoto family and Samurai in general. The deified spirits of the ancient Emperor Ojin, Princess Hime-gami and Empress Jingu are enshrined at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.  Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is now only Shinto shrine but for almost 700 years since its foundation until the "Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order" of 1868, its name was Tsurugaoka Hachimangu-ji (with a "ji" which means "temple") and it was also a Buddhist temple. The mixing of Buddhism and Shinto Kami (gods) worship in shrine-temple complexes like Tsurugaoka had been normal for centuries until the Meiji government decided, for political reasons, that this was to change.