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Katori Jingu Shrine

One of the three grand shrines of eastern Japan

Katori Jingu Shrine, located in Katori City, is the premier shrine of the old province of Kazusa, now modern Chiba Prefecture. This shrine is one of the three significant shrines of eastern Japan, along with Kashima Jingu Shrine in nearby Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Ibusuki Shrine, located in Ibusuki City.

It is believed that Katori Jingu Shrine was established during the reign of Emperor Jinmu. The tower gate and the main building in the precinct are registered as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Some halls were constructed by Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the 5th shogun, in 1700.

The worship hall from a distance appears austere and sparse, but when you look closely, you notice some elaborate decorative details in black and gold. Look around the shrine, and you may spot some of the treasures. Look upon entering the tower gate, which has a large wooden plaque in bold calligraphy. The text was written by Admiral Togo Heihachiro, one of Japan's great naval heroes.

The shrine which was established to honor the warrior god Futsunushi no kami, is efficacious for the victory. If you have the drive to win, this is the best shrine to ask for divine help.

The elegant structures and the atmosphere are meant to impress. Note that the title "Jingu" indicates the grandness of the shrine and historically, there were only three so designated - Ise Jingu, Katori Jingu, and Kashima Jingu. Nowadays, there are more Jingu shrines such as Meiji Jingu shrine in Harajuku, but the big three set the standard.

Also at the shrine is a powerful object. The “Kaname stone”, or keystone, near Katori Gokoku Shrine, is believed to penetrate deep into the earth, providing protection against earthquakes. There is similar Kaname stone, but concave, at Kashima Jingu Shrine while the one at Katori Jingu Shrine is convex.

Getting there

The nearest station is JR Sakura Station and it takes about 10 minutes by taxi. You can also reach the site from JR Katori Station but it takes much longer. If traveling from Tokyo, you can take a bus at JR Tokyo Station. Alternatively you can go by car and there is ample parking.

More info

Find out more about Katori Shrine.