Kuzuharaoka Shrine, established in 1887, is dedicated to Hino Yoshimoto, a court noble in the late Kamakura Period.
Toshimoto, as a loyal retainer of Emperor Go-Daigo, was one of those who participated in the attack to topple the Kamakura Shogunate in 1324. While he escaped capture the first time, in a second attempt he was caught and then executed at Kuzuharagaoka.
Later, during the Meiji Period when Toshimoto's achievements were more appreciated, Emperor Meiji ordered the establishment of Kuzuharoka Shrine in his honor.
The compact main temple building is conspicuous for the number of women it attracts. Within the grounds of the shrine lies two stones known as the enmusubi-ishi. In recent years, the two stones have become famous as a power spot for people looking for luck in love and marriage.
During the hanami cherry blossom viewing season, there are many sakura trees here in full bloom. You'll also find sightseeing spots like Genjiyama Park and Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine. There is even a Kuzuharaoka hiking course though, unfortunately, some parts of the trail have been closed because of a typhoon that hit in 2019.
Walking towards the main building, you will see ema votive plaques that are heart-shaped. You write your name and the name of someone you like on the ema, hang it up and pray for romantic fortune. You will also come across numerous yatai food stalls along the way to the shrine during the New-Year period, offering a festive atmosphere to the area.
During the New Year, most visitors to Kamakura will visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the most famous shrine in the area for their traditional first shrine visit of the year. As a result, Kuzuharaoka Shrine is likely to be relatively quiet in comparison, making a trip here all the more special.