Hiratsuka Shrine in Kaminakazato, Kita Ward, Tokyo

Japanese Shrine|Beautiful Japanese culture!| Hiratsuka Shrine and the sacred crest


Do you know about Japanese shrines? The Hiratsuka Shrine’s crest is unique and has an interesting origin. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!

Hiratsuka Shrine and the sacred crest


Hiratsuka Shrine is located in Kaminakazato, Kita Ward, Tokyo.

Chikayoshi Toshima built a castle tower (Hiratsuka castle) at this place in the Heian era. It is said that at the end of the Heian era Hatchimantaro Yoshiie Minamoto stayed in the castle with his two brothers on his triumphant return from the conquest of Oshu, and they were treated with great hospitality, so in return, Yoshiie gave him a suit of armor and a statue of the eleven-faced Kannon. Chikayoshi buried the armor he had received in clean ground and built a mound to serve as a guardian for his castle.

The mound was called an armor mound and was also called Hiratsuka because of its lack of height. (In Japanese hira means flat and tsuka means mound. This mound still remains at the back of the shrine, but it is not open to the public.) Chikayoshi also built a shrine and had wooden statues of the three brothers, Yoshiie, Yoshitsuna, and Yoshimitsu, made to worship as Hiratsuka Sanjo Daimyojin. That was the beginning of the Hiratsuka Shrine.

When I visited this shrine, the thing that caught my attention the most was the sacred crest on the money box. The sacred crest was the same as the temple crest I had first seen at Satakeji Temple in Ibaraki Prefecture, and it was a crest that left a great impression on me.

Satakeji Temple in Ibaraki Prefecture
Satakeji Temple in Ibaraki Prefecture

According to the explanatory board of Hiratsuka Shrine, Yoshimitsu Minamoto who is one of the deities of Hiratsuka shrine is the ancestor of the Takeda, Satake and Ogasawara clans. I was convinced that it was no wonder that the crest of the shrine dedicated to Yoshimitsu Minamoto, the ancestor of the Satake clan, and the temple crest of Satakeji Temple, which flourished as a place of prayer for the generations of the Satake clan, were the same.

Furthermore, I looked into the family crest of the Satake clan. It is said in the Azuma Kagami that when Takayoshi Satake followed Yoritomo to the battle of Oshu, he brought a plain white flag with him, but he was ordered to attach a fan to the white flag because it was confusing since it was equal to Yoritomo’s flag.

This fan depicts the moon, and it is said that the Satake clan came to use the “moon on a fan” as their family crest. In general, it is often called the “Hinomaru fan”. Later, I talked to the priest of Satakeji Temple, and he told me that the circle is not the sun but the moon, and the red one is the red moon.

There was one more thing that I understood from the explanatory board.

It says on the explanatory board that the elder of the three brothers who are the deities of Hiratsuka Shrine, Yoshiie Minamoto, was called Hachiman Taro because he went through the genpuku (Coming of Age) ceremony at the Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine in the suburbs of Kyoto, the second brother, Yoshitsuna Minamoto, was called Kamo Jiro because he went through the genpuku ceremony at Kamo-jinja Shrine in Kyoto, and the third brother, Yoshimitsu Minamoto was called Shinra Saburo because he went through the genpuku ceremony at Shinra Myojin (Onjo-ji Temple) in Otsu.

I have been familiar with the name Hachiman Taro Yoshiie since I was a child, but this was the first time I understood the reason behind it.