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Katori Jingu Shrine

One of Japan’s oldest and most significant shrines, where people have worshipped for over 2500 years.

Located outside of the town of Sawara and little known to foreign tourists, this shrine is dedicated to the protector god of swordsmen and the military enlisted in general: Futsunushi no Mikoto. Naturally, samurai and other assorted weapon-wielders have held this place dear for a long time.

If you’re planning on getting into a boxing match/bar fight any time soon, then you might want to say a prayer here for good luck. For all of us of the non-violent inclination, there’s plenty of rich culture to absorb instead. The history alone is quite outstanding — it’s thought that people have worshipped here since 653 BC.

This extensive history makes one of the most highly-regarded Shinto shrines in Japan. As one of the most popular and significant shrines in the country, Katori Jingu Shrine has generated a huge number of spinoffs: 400 branch temples around Japan. This headquarters location boasts an impressive pavilion which dates back over 300 years (ancient by the standards of Japan’s fire-prone historic buildings).

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