I had heard about the Kameito Sports Shrine and decided to check it out. To get there, first depart at Kameito Station via the Sobu Line. From there the shrine is a ten minute walk away. Nearby I was happy to discover there is an old shopping district full of items with good tastes. From the beginning of the long approach, you'll see the small Katori Shrine (香取神社) in the distance.
The serenity of the peaceful shrine is a stark contrast to the high energy image of sports. Allow me to share an excerpt from the shrine's website (*note that below is the translator's English interpretation):
According to shrine legend, during the fourth year of Emperor Tenji (665) when the eastern provinces fell, Fujiwara no Kamatari (founder of the Fujiwara clan) came here to pray. With one swing of a mighty sword, he dedicated a pray of safety for his upcoming journey in the name of the Katori Okami deity which came to settle in this part Japan. This is the origin of this shrine. During the brief "war in the Tengyo era (承平天慶の乱)'', Taira no Masakado was tracking down Fujiwara no Hidesato. In order to wish for his victory, this shrine was prayed at. After the suppression of the conflict, a bow and arrow were presented to the shrine. It was named the 'winning arrow.' This is the origin of the Festival of the Winning Arrow held on May 5th. The deity of Katori Shrine is revered as a historical and martial arts deity. In modern times, the shrine's reputation as the "Sports Shrine" has gained wide attention.
The shrine doesn't only aim to attract regular worshippers, it actively promotes itself as the home of the deity that can guareentee victory in any bout as well as the home of the sports deity. It is also prayed at by those with an illness to gain "victory" over their sickness and recover to a healthy state.
Why don't you buy a good luck charm for your children, parents, or grandparents? The recipient will surely be happy with such a blessing.
Actually, Katori Shrine is one of seven shrines in the Kameito area that together form a seven lucky gods pilgrimage. Katori Shrine is home to Ebisu. To walk around and visit all the shrines will take about an hour and a half.
Also in the area you'll be able to clearly see Skytree.
For those that have the time or need some luck, take a stroll to the Sports Shrine.
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Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is a long-term resident and promoter in the Tohoku region. He has been a content producer for JapanTravel.com since 2012 and was the Miyagi Prefecture Regional Partner 2013-2015. Justin’s over 300 published travel and culture articles come from a background of studying in Akita, teaching English in Miyagi through the JET Program, and working for the government in Fukushima. He lives in the gyutan capital of the world, Sendai. Justin is an expert in local culture and history. He was the first foreign volunteer at Sendai City Museum and regularly advises the local volunteer guide group GOZAIN , which he is a veteran member, on guiding techniques and hidden locations in the city even locals don't know about. In his free time he enjoys delivering original walking tours, such as his Dark Sendai Tour (ghost tour) or Kokubuncho Mystery Tour (redlight district tour). Justin is also a Certified Sake Professional.