The town of Kaizuka

has a well-preserved, traditional atmosphere.

Stroll the Historic Townscape of Kaizuka

Kaizuka was one of many autonomous cities (jinaimachi) that once existed in Japan. Built up around Kaizukagobo Gansenji Temple, the area thrived from the Muromachi period (1336-1573) to the Edo period (1603-1867), and part of the traditional atmosphere has been preserved to this day. Many significant sites, important cultural properties, temples and shrines, and retro townscapes can still be seen.

Kaizuka as a Jinaimachi

Spot the remains of the moat around the jinaimachi.

The term jinaimachi was used to describe autonomous cities which were semi-fortified and built up around a centering temple throughout Japan. The jinaimachi of Kaizuka expanded toward the seaside from Kaizuka Station.


Kaizuka jinaimachi is an autonomous city which developed from Muromachi period to Edo period. The area was built around Gansenji Temple, and the moat separated the inside and outside of Gansenji Temple. Parts of the moat can be seen as a part of the flume even today.

Kanda Shrine

Visitors can see the unique Buddhist temple-like gate from the approach to the shrine.

One of the first stops to drop in when visiting Kaizuka is Kanda Shrine. Though it shares a name with a famous shrine located in Tokyo, there is no connection between the two. However, Kanda Shrine is unusual for a variety of reasons, and reflects how life in this part of Kaizuka used to be.


Since jinaimachi towns were built around a Buddhist temple, religion has had a large influence on the lifestyle of its residents. On the other hand, since there was no Shinto shrine inside the area, they moved and enshrined a deity from a neighboring village—this is the origin of Kanda Shrine. The Buddhist temple-style gate at the front of the shrine is a remnant of a time when both temples and shrines could co-exist in harmony.


A Shinto shrine was an important fixture in any community since the god enshrined is said to protect the town. The town was built to help prevent local residents from being involved in conflict during times of war. Kanda Shrine was of great spiritual support for the people at that time.

Worshippers move through the gap in-between the stones to pray for good health.

The shrine facilities were eventually expanded to enshrine various protective deities. Close to Kanda Shrine’s entrance is a worship area surrounded by a stone barrier. The standardized praying system for Shintoism is to bow twice, clap twice, internally voice your prayer, and complete a final bow. To pray at this particular worship area, one must climb over the barrier from the left, present oneself in front of the shrine and follow the standard praying procedure, and then exit from the gap in the barrier located on the right side of the shrine. This system evolved from the high frequency of people in the area suffering from strokes. The idea was that if you were able to complete all of the steps, you were of apparent good health, and would not suffer a stroke. More abstractly, it became a way of praying for good health. This way of praying was held twice a year: the middle day of the equinoctial week of spring and autumn. (Currently, this way of praying has been temporarily halted)


There were no hospitals in the community, and children were born at home. This was considered to be dangerous as it easily led to complications during birth. Another small shrine in the complex enshrines a female goddess said to watch over the safety of childbirth. Typically, at shrines dedicated to this goddess, the name of the father is inscribed into pillars placed near the shrine after the birth of a child. However, at Kanda Shrine, it is the name of the mother that is carved.

The komainu are protectors of Kanda Shrine.

In front of the shrine, two komainu dogs are presented as protectors, one with an open mouth and one with a closed mouth. They are believed to be speaking the first and last syllables in the Sanskrit alphabet, which signify the beginning and the end. At this particular shrine, they are also considered to be a mother and father who have children.


A famous float festival called the Taikodai Festival is held here every summer, and has a history of over 280 years.

Renovated Row of Houses

Follow these signs as you stroll along Kaizuka!

Close to the station is a row of small houses that have been recently renovated for the purpose of revitalizing business prospects in the area. These houses include Kominka Sora Café, a great place to stop for a lunch break, as well as colamaro, a shop that sells miscellaneous goods (zakka).


Kaizuka is walkable within a few hours, but we recommend renting a bicycle from the East Exit of Kaizuka Station. Look out for “Sheru-rin” bicycle rental area. It costs ¥510 per day.


Maps of the area are also available. Look out for the logo on the ground that indicates the walking route to keep track of where you are going.


For information on a private tour of Kaizuka with an English-speaking guide, please contact the Senshu Japan Concierge Team.

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