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Mystery tour: Taira no Masakado – Part 2 –

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/20 Others, Travel & View point ,

Barrier for Masakado?

There are seven main shrines (including “Kubi-zuka”) for Masakado.
They are said to have been built to seal the powerful spirit of Masakado as well as to make use of it.

[1. Torigoe shrine]

It is not officially admitted, but this shrine is said to be the place where Masakado’s hand(s?) is buried or where Masakado’s head flew over (In a legend, the name “Torigoe” came from “Tobikoe” (“fly over” or “jump over”).


[2. Kabuto shrine]

“Kabuto” means a traditional Japanese helmet worn by samurai.
There is a legend that Masakado’s “kabuto” was buried here.
Again, it doesn’t seem to be mentioned officially.

This small shrine is considered as the guardian for the brokerage industry.
(Kabuto-cho is one of the main financial districts in Japan where Tokyo Stock Exchange is located.)


[3. Masakado no Kubi-zuka]

See my previous post.


[4. Kanda shrine]

Kanda shrine

Photo taken by Taiju Muto from flickr

Some say that Masakado’s headless body was buried here, and that the name “Kanda” came from “Karada” (meaning “body”).

In the offical website, it is written that it was originally built near “Kubi-zuka”.
After Masakado’s death, extraordinary phenomena frequently happened in “Kubi-zuka” area, so a high priest commemorated his soul.
Then in 1309, the shrine started to worship Masakado’s spirit (no mentions about Masakado’s body) for consolation.
The shrine was moved to the present place in 1616.
Its location is north-east of the Edo Castle to prevent evils coming in from “kimon”, “devil’s gate” (for more information about “kimon”, see my Momotarou post).


[5. Tsukudo shrine]

Tsukudo shrine

Photo taken by Taiju Muto from flickr

According to the official website, Masakado’s head was secretly brought back to the eastern area from Kyoto and enshrined in June of 940 near “Kubi-zuka”.
This was the original site of Tsukudo shrine.
It had been moved six times.


The present (seventh) location


The fifth location (from 1616 to 1946)

It was just next to another shrine “Tsukudohachiman”.
A religious old man recieved a divine message in a dream and started to worship a pine tree.
This Tsukudohachiman shrine was built there.
The Tsukudohachiman shrine is said to be where Masakado’s feet (foot? or leg?) were buried.


[6. Mizuinari shrine]

The shrine to suppress Masakado’s power.

This was built in 941 by Fujiwara no Hidesato a.k.a. Tawara Touta.
He was one of samurais who fought against Masakado for the government.
Originally, it was located at the present Waseda University Building 9, a several hundreds meters (yards) south-east away from the present location.
It was moved in 1963.


[7. Yoroi shrine]

Yoroi shrine

Photo taken by Taiju Muto from flickr

“Yoroi” means armour.
There are rumours that armours of two people were buried here:

  1. Yamatotakeru
    When he came to conquer the eastern area on order of the Emperor, he cached his armour under the ground.
  2. Taira no Masakado
    In 947, people mourned Masakado’s death and buried his armour.*

In another rumour, it was Fujiwara no Hidesato who buried Masakado’s armour at Enshou-ji (Enshou temple) near the shrine.
He became seriously ill after killing Masakado.
He thought it was because he was haunted by Masakado, so he buried the armour and built a small shrine to console the spirit.
Then he quickly and fully recovered.


The Big Dipper

If you connect those seven spots, “the Big Dipper”-like shape comes out.
Some say this is a magic barrier for the spirit of Masakado completed in Edo era, because Masakado worshipped the Big Dipper.

Masakado Map

  • The location of fifth spot (Tsukudo shrine) is the one in Edo era. (Next to Tsukudohachiman shrine)
  • The location of sixth spot (Mizuinari shrine) connected with red line is the present shrine, and the one with green line is the place in Edo era.


Related posts:
#Masakado (1)
#Urban legends(1) (2) (3)

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A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

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