Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine

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.

Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine Festival, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo.
Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine Festival, Shimokitazawa

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.

Traditional drumming at the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine Festival
Festival drumming at the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine, Shimokitazawa
Watching a traditional Japanese stage ritual at the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine Festival, Setagaya ward, Tokyo.
Watching a performance at Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine on festival day, Shimokitazawa

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.

Omikoshi portable shrine at the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine festival, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo.
Omikoshi portable shrine at the Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine festival, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo


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
Free entry


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.

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