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Kashima Shrine

Kashima Shrine (鹿島神宮 Kashima Jingū) is a shrine dedicated to the Shinto Kami Takemikazuchi-no-Ōkami (武甕槌大神), one of the patron deities of martial arts. Various dojo (道場 Dōjō) of kenjutsu (剣術) and kendo (剣道 Kendō) sometimes display a Kakejiku (掛軸) hanging scroll emblazoned with Takemikazuchi-no-Ōkami. The shrine is located in Kashima, Ibaraki and is the home of Kashima Shintō-ryū (鹿島新当流). During the New Year period, from the first to the third of January, Kashima Shrine is visited by over 600,000 people from all over Japan. It is the second most visited shrine in Ibaraki prefecture (茨城県 Ibaraki-ken) for new year pilgrims.

Tsukahara Bokuden (塚原 卜伝, 1489 - March 6, 1571), one of the most distinguished swordmasters in Japanese history, was a frequent visitor to the shrine and the son of one of its four retainers. The Kashima Shintō-ryū school of martial art was developed by him and is said to be derived from a combination of his own experiences as a shugyōsha during Musha shugyō (武者修行) and the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū (天真正伝香取神道流). Tsukuhara learned Katori Shintō-ryū from his adopted father at Katori Shrine (香取神宮 Katori Jingū) which has a strong connection to Kashima Shrine and dedicated to a similar patron deity.

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