Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine Tokyo 北沢八幡神社
Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine is the main Shinto presence in the trendy, grungy Shimokitazawa district in Tokyo and is where Shimokitazawa's big, colorful, boisterous annual festival takes place, every fall. Kitazawa Hachiman is traditionally the guardian shrine for the whole of northern Setagaya ward.
Kitazawa Hachiman contains no less than seven sub-shrines on its large, wooded grounds, which slope up a hillside.
History of Kitazawa Hachiman
Kitazawa Hachiman is an old shrine, and the main shrine building itself is quite unique in Tokyo for having last been rebuilt as far back as the 1850s, before Japan's modernization.
The lord of the former Setagaya Castle (site about 2 km SW of here), Yoshiyasu Kira, is said to have established Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine in the late 15th century. It was a grand, ornate shrine that became the centerpiece of the village of Shimokitazawa which grew up around it.
Festivals & Rituals
Kitazawa Hachiman has a busy year-round schedule of traditional events, and whenever you visit, you are likely to see a ritual or maybe a performance on the open stage taking place.
The main annual Kitazawa Hachiman Festival happens on the first weekend in September, with the main day being Sunday. The shrine grounds are full of stalls, there are events, both religious and otherwise, happening, ornate portable shrines are carried boisterously around the neighborhood, and the whole of Shimokitazawa comes out to celebrate.
The Kitazawa Hachiman Festival is one of the first festivals in Tokyo to have gotten rid of participation by yakuza groups, in the early 1990s.
Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine is less than 10 minutes walk south of Shimokitazawa Station on the Keio Inokashira Line and the Odakyu Odawara Line (which connects to the Chiyoda Subway Line).
3-25-3 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Shinganji Temple is a four-century old Buddhist temple just a minute's walk from Kitazawa Hachiman, and is distinguished by a huge ginkgo tree on the grounds, as well as some interesting ritualistic features.