The prestigious shrine built in 643 BC has a quiet majesty
Only three shrines predating the Edo Era have had the label “Jingu” applied: Ise Jingu, Kashima Jingu and Katori Jingu. Such structures were given the rank of Jingu as gods to appease and protect the nation. Katori Jingu is a prestigious shrine established in 643 BC. Built on a slightly elevated mountain called Mt. Kamegase, the 123,000㎡ area known as Katori Woods is a Natural Monument of Chiba Prefecture. You can enjoy the four seasons through the several hundred trees which include cedar, maple and especially cherry. Once you pass the brilliant vermilion torii, there is the path to the shrine lined with stone lanterns among the old trees. And then walking beyond the stone torii and the main gate, you will see the Important Cultural Property-designated roumon tower gate. Built in 1700, the gravitas-laden roumon is a symbol of Katori Shrine. In contrast, the haiden that was built in the same year has an underlying tone of black with upper carvings that are very detailed and gorgeous with brilliant color. The contrast emphasizes its power and it’s a building that has character.
Don’t miss the spiritual spots that are all over the shrine
To the right of the haiden is a sacred tree which is 1000 years old and is 10m in circumference. The old cedar tree stands beautifully tall as if a god were to come down. Along with the keystone at Katori Jingu, there is another 20km away at Ibaraki Prefecture’s Kashima Jingu with the pair of them being magical stones. It is said that pressing down on the keystones pressed down on the head and tail of a thrashing giant catfish underground which calmed the earthquakes. The part of the keystones that rose above ground concealed magical stones which extended so far below that their bottoms would never be shown no matter how far people dug. Enshrined in the rear shrine is the aramitama, the wrathful side of a spirit which is said to directly push people from the back. This is harmonized by the nigimitama, or the normal side of the spirit, enshrined in the main hall (honden) which is said to bring good when going towards an objective alongside the aramitama.