Kashima Grand Shrine enshrines Takemikazuchi no Okami, the God of martial arts and war, a God long revered by Japan's Imperial Family and the famous Fujiwara Clan. The shrine then gained a following amongst samurai including some of Japan's foremost samurai like Tsukahara Bokuden, famed for never having lost a battle in his life, a feat not even possible for the likes of Miyamoto Musashi.
Nakamisedori - Pilgrim's Shopping Street
Kashima Grand Shrine is one of the most spiritual destinations in Ibaraki Prefecture and draws in crowds of pilgrims, particularly over the New Year period. The street leading up to the shrine - Nakamisedori - is packed with interesting shops catering to pilgrims and visitors. Make sure to explore this holly-lined street during your visit to the shrine.
"Jingu" which is exceptional for its length of history
Kashima Jingu Grand Shrine is said to have been established in 660BCE and is the oldest and largest Shinto Shrine in the Kanto region. The shrine is dedicated to Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, the Shinto god of martial arts.
The shrine is set in spacious park-like grounds. After seeing the shrine, make sure to stop off at the deer enclosure and visit the crystal blue Mitarashi Pond. Stalls selling traditional Japanese snacks like dango dumplings and salt-baked sweetfish are also available at busy times of year.
More than 80 annual events and festivals are held at the shrine, including the Ofune Matsuri or ‘Ship Festival’, which takes place just once every 12 years and attracts visitors from across Japan and overseas.