Halfway up Mt. Kasuga, where the locals’ revered General Uesugi Kenshin from the Warring States Period used to reside, lies the Kasugayama Shrine. This wooden shrine was built by children’s literature author, Ogawa Mimei’s father.
It can be accessible by train then by bus or car.
By public transportation: After taking the Joetsu Shinkansen to JR Joetsumyoko Station, take the Main Line to Naoetsu Station. Then, transfer to a Kubiki Bus and get off at the ‘’Kasugayama-shita’’ stop. The shrine is a 30 minute walk from there.
By car: The shrine is a 15-minute drive from the ‘’Joetsu-takada IC’’ interchange on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Free parking is available at the bottom of the shrine.
Kasugayama Shrine is robust and linear in look. The lines appear to be very solid on this Shinto shrine. On the shrine grounds, you can find animal statues that are fairytale motifs, and relics and documents of Uesugi Kenshin. As the shrine sits on a mountain, it gives off a mighty and powerful vibe.
For those that are active, take a hike up to the top of Mt. Kasuga to look over the city of Joetsu. It is not a difficult hike, and passes through important points of castle ruins during wartime in the Warring States Period.
The nearby Rinsen-ji Temple is worth checking out too as that is where Kenshin studied and trained in military arts.
Every year on the 4th Saturday and Sunday in August, hundreds of samurai actors (volunteers from the city) will dress in full armor and march the streets of Kasugayama for Kenshinko Festival, an occasion to commemorate Kenshin. The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the reenactment of the Kawanakajima Battle; hundreds of actors and horses are involved in this performance.