Kakinomoto-jinja Shrine 高津柿本神社
The chief shrine dedicated to the greatest poet of 7th-century Japan
Considered the greatest poet of 7th-century Japan, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro's works appear extensively in the Manyoshu, Japan's oldest collection of poems. He is believed to have died here in Masuda, and Kakinomoto-jinja Shrine is dedicated to him.
It is said the shrine was originally built on the island of Kamoshima but was washed away by a tsunami in 1026
Only the statue of Kakinomoto no Hitomaro floated to Matsuzaki, and the shrine was rebuilt there
At the Hassaku Festival on August 1, which celebrates Kakinomoto's birthday, you can watch thrilling yabusame horseback archery by the riverside
In 1681, the shrine was moved to its current location by the lord of nearby Tsuwano so he could easily visit it
How to Get There
It is a 10-minute bus ride from Masuda Station. Get off at the Takatsu stop. You can take a taxi or walk from the station in around 30 minutes. Masuda Station is connected to Izumo and Matsue on the coast and inland to Tsuwano and to the shinkansen in Yamaguchi.
A mecca for poets
Poets, students, and poetry fans visit the shrine to honor Kakinomoto and pray for guidance and inspiration. Poems are displayed around the shrine grounds, and numerous poetry events are held throughout the year.
The shrine's collection includes art pieces by emperors and members of the Imperial court. A statue of Kakinomoto, depicted with his paper and calligraphy brush, sits in front of the main hall under a plum tree, poised for inspiration to strike.
After visiting the shrine, stroll through the neighboring Manyo Park, with the same scenery and plants mentioned in the poems of Manyoshu. The park has playgrounds for kids and a tearoom where you can relax and perhaps compose your own poems.