A shrine to enjoy for flowers and history
Even among the numerous Hachiman shrines, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is a famous shrine that is one of the three great shrines of its type in Japan. Entering the shrine grounds, there is a large and impressive stone stairway. The Senior Shrine at the top of the stairs has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property. Within the grounds, there are various structures but in the back of the main shrine, there is the shrine repository. There, the National Treasures of the sword and sacred clothing along with the Important Cultural Properties of the Bodhisattva mask and the bugaku dancer’s mask are able to be viewed. In addition, structures such as the Maruyama Inari Shrine and the large torii gates on the grounds are also Important Cultural Properties. Another reason for the many visitors to the shrine is the variety of festivals that take place throughout the year such as the Setsubun, Shobu and Tanabata Festivals. It is also popular among young people and families as a place to pray for safe childbirth and romantic success. At Hata-age Benzaiten Shrine, there is a stone which is said to bless children and safe childbirth, and it is visited by many people to pray for these things.
Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is famous for the beauty of its surrounding nature with flowers blooming throughout the four seasons. The spring cherry blossoms, azaleas and peonies, the summer lotus and the fall foliage can all be enjoyed. Wakamiya-oji Street which stretches from the train station to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is famous for its cherry trees. It is said that the street was built in prayer for the safe childbirth by Masako Hojo, the wife of Yoritomo Minamoto. The raised pathway of Dankazura is also flanked by cherry trees. In spring, it transforms into a tunnel of cherry blossoms.