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2013 photos
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shinto Shrine
Kamakura, Japan
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu - Official Website
(online Feb. 2014)

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is the city of Kamakura's most  important Shinto shrine. It was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063, and enlarged and moved to its current site in 1180 by Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura government.

The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, one of the most popular Shintō deities of Japan; the patron deity of the Minamoto clan and of warriors in general; often referred to as the god of war and archery.

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū was for most of its history - about 700 years  - not only a Shinto Hachiman  shrine, but also a Buddhist temple, a fact which explains its general layout. The mixing of Shinto and  Buddhism worship in Shinto shrine-Buddhist temple complexes had been normal for centuries until the Meiji government decided, in 1868, for political reasons, to mandate a separation.

Both the shrine and the city were built with Feng Shui in mind. The present location was carefully chosen as the most propitious after consulting a diviner because it had a mountain to the north, a river to the east, a great road to the west, and was open to the south. Each direction was protected by a god.

Various events are held at the shrine throughout the year. During the New Year holidays, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is, with over two million visitors, one of the country's most popular shrines for hatsumode (the year's first visit to a shrine), and in mid April and mid September, horseback archery (yabusame; Hachiman was the god of war and archery) is performed along the main approach to the shrine.
2013 photos


The first torii (Shinto gate) with two guardian lion-dog figures in front.



Shīsā - A guardian lion-dog figure. This one, the one on the front right of the torii, has an open mouth.



The first torii (Shinto gate).



Bridges, some considered sacred,  act as a gateway to shrines and temples. As one enters Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, after the first torii (Shinto gate), there are three small bridges, two flat ones on the sides and an arched one at the center. The wooden arched bridge was called Akabashi - "Red Bridge," because originally it was painted red. This bridge was reserved for the shogun who would leave his retinue there and proceed alone on foot to the shrine.


Lotus plants growing in the water behind the arched bridge.



At the purification fountain - Temizu - near the shrine's entrance, visitors should take one of the ladles provided, fill it with fresh water and rinse both hands. Then transfer some water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth and spit the water beside the fountain. Visitors are not supposed to transfer the water directly from the ladle into your mouth or swallow the water.



Lower Worship Hall (Haiden)
"Here dedicatory dances and music are performed. Throughout the year, various rituals are performed here. This is a building of symbolic importance since it was here that the legendary dancer, Shizuka, performed her dedicatory dances." - Tsurugaoka Hachimangu - Official Website (online Feb. 2014)
3 details below:



Lower Worship Hall -  #1 of three details



Lower Worship Hall -  #2 of three details.
Rafters painted white at ends ... Widely overhanging curved eaves ... Corner and center  tokyō, a system of supporting blocks and brackets supporting the eaves of a Japanese building, usually part of a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine.



Lower Worship Hall -  #3 of three details.
Coffered barrel ceiling.



Past containers of sake (rice wine) donated to the shrine by local brewers ... Detail below:



Note yellow lotus flowers



At the left of its great stone stairway stands a 1000-year old ginkgo tree, which was uprooted by a storm in the early hours of March 10, 2010.



Ema wooden wishing plaques:  People write their wishes or prayers on a wooden plaque that can be purchased at the shrine and then hang it up on the shrine grounds.



"Hongu 本宮 (Main Shrine)
Enshrined kami (the Japanese word for Shinto deities or sacred beings): Emperor Ojin,  Hime-gami, Empress Jingu
Main Annual Rite: 15th September
On the top of the stone steps, you can see the great gate and corridor surrounding the main shrine. The main shrine has three halls: the Main Sanctuary (本殿, Honden), the Offering Chamber (幣殿, Heiden), and the Worship Hall (拝殿, Haiden). These three halls are connected to each other. This style of shrine architecture developed in Edo period.
Both the inside and the outside of the shrine are decorated with carving and painting. The buildings were constructed in 1828 by Tokugawa Ienari (11th Tokugawa shogun ), and the entire shrine is designated a nationally important cultural property as it typifies Edo style architecture." - Tsurugaoka Hachimangu - Official Website (online Feb. 2014)
12 details below:



Main Shrine -  #1 of twelve details



Main Shrine -  #2 of twelve details.
Widely overhanging eaves supported by rafter tails.



Main Shrine -  #3 of twelve details.
Corner tokyō, a system of supporting blocks and brackets  supporting the eaves of a Japanese building, usually part of a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine.



Main Shrine -  #4 of twelve details.
Tokyō, a system of supporting blocks and brackets  supporting the eaves of a Japanese building, usually part of a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine.



Main Shrine -  #5 of twelve details.
Left side of the shrine.



Main Shrine -  #6 of twelve details



Main Shrine -  #7 of twelve details



Main Shrine -  #8 of twelve details: Tokyō


Main Shrine -  #9 of twelve details.
Gilded shīsā, a guardian lion-dog figure.


Main Shrine -  #10 of twelve details.
Large drum.



Main Shrine -  #11 of twelve details



Main Shrine -  #12 of twelve details.
Widely overhanging eaves supported by tokyō.


Photos and their arrangement 2013 Chuck LaChiusa
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