Ikari-jinja is one of the oldest shrines in the Hiroshima city area, and it is thought that it has been a place of worship since the early Nara period, about 1250 years ago.
Despite, being next to a busy thoroughfare, its precinct is quiet and calming, and it has an interesting history. It’s definitely worth popping in if you find yourself in the area.
Located on the shore of what was once Hakoshima-sho, one of the 5 large sandbanks in the Hiroshima delta, travelers would secure their boats to prominent rocks at the shore. As a result of this practice, and the danger of vessels foundering on the rocks a shrine dedicated to the Japanese dragon-like sea deity, Ōwatsumi, was established on the shore it came to be known as Ikari-jinja, ikari being the Japanese word for “anchor”.
A historical marker indicates the spot where boats where thought to anchor and there is also an old fashioned water pump in the precinct. The main hall is a reconstruction, but the stone komainu guardian lion-dog, which dates from the early 1800s and the cherry and tabu trees in the shrine grounds survived the atomic bombing.
Ikari-shrine is particularly picturesque during the cherry blossom season in spring, and over the New Year’s holiday when it is lit by lanterns at night. There are also kagura dance performances during the autumn festival.
View Ikari-jinja Shrine [碇神社] in a larger map