Japan Hiroshima Higashi

Yatsurugi Shrine

17th-century shrine with a unique flood-prevention legend involving eight swords

Photo of Yatsurugi Shrine, Japan ( by )

Yatsurugi Shrine, known as the “8 sword shrine,” stands as a testament to a unique 17th-century flood-prevention legend. Nestled near the Enko River, this modest wayside shrine is part of the Futabanosato Historical Walking Trail, offering visitors a glimpse into ancient practices and beliefs surrounding water spirits and construction.

About Yatsurugi Shrine

The Yatsurugi Shrine, colloquially referred to as the “8 sword shrine,” holds a distinct place in local folklore and history. During the 17th century, the area surrounding the Enko River was frequently threatened by flooding, a natural disaster that brought much distress to the local populace. To combat this, the daimyo, a Japanese feudal lord, sought a solution that deviated from the grim customary practice of the time, which often involved human sacrifice to appease the water deities.

Instead of sacrificing a life, the daimyo ordered a more humane and symbolic offering: the burial of eight swords at the site of the Yatsurugi Shrine. This act was intended to serve as a spiritual bulwark against the raging waters, a plea to the spirits for protection and mercy. The swords, revered in Japanese culture as the soul of the samurai, were likely chosen for their strong association with honor and valor, embodying the strength and resilience the community sought to invoke against the forces of nature.

Although today the Yatsurugi Shrine might appear unassuming, its historical background enriches the experience of those who visit. It serves as a physical reminder of a time when human lives were intimately tied to the caprices of the natural world, and when the intervention of the supernatural was sought to ensure safety and stability. The shrine’s inclusion in the Futabanosato Historical Walking Trail allows it to be part of a larger narrative, connecting it to other historical sites and stories from the region.

For visitors interested in the cultural tapestry of Japan, the Yatsurugi Shrine offers an opportunity to delve into the past and consider the ways in which ancient beliefs have shaped the practices of construction and the communal responses to environmental challenges. While the shrine itself may not house an extensive array of artefacts or possess grand architectural features, its cultural and historical significance lies in the story it preserves—a tale of human ingenuity and spiritual reverence in the face of nature’s unpredictability.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Yatsurugi Shrine


Hiroden Hakushima
 Hiroden Route 9

 5-10 minute walk (500m)

 Astram Line + 1 more

 5-10 minute walk (600m)

 Hiroden Route 1 + 3 more

 10-20 minute walk (1.6km)

Around Yatsurugi Shrine

Yatsurugi Shrine

Way Shrine in Hiroshima

open 24 hours
closed Irregularly


八剣神社, 広島

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Updated 13 Mar 2024 • Report an error

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