The Birth Place of Budo and Kenjutsu.
Kashima and Katori are considered the sacred areas of all Japanese martial arts, called Budo and Kenjutsu. They are also the protector shrines of Japan and enshrine the gods of the warrior class. Kashima Shrine and Katori Shrine are two of the oldest shrines in Japan located in the most spiritual place, and strongly connected to the origin of Japan’s martial arts. Kashima Shrine Enbu (demonstration) is held on 2nd Sunday of June.
The Birth Place of Kenjutsu
Katori Shrine, enshrines Futsu Nushi no Kami the warrior god, and was not only an important spiritual place for the Samurai class, but considered also the birthplace of Kenjutsu and Bujutsu (Budo) as founded by Iizasa Ienao (c.1387?c.1488). Master Iizasa was the founder of Katori Shinto Ryu the first sword master who made "Kata" practice forms. He developed the essence and philosophy of Bushido, the way of the warrior. So, Katori Shinto Ryu sword style is the first sword style established in Japan and Katori Shrine is the place where the first Kenjutsu and budo was formed.
Kashima Shrine, which enshrines the warrior god Takemikazuchi, is another sacred place for Budo. After Master Iizasa had founded the first sword style in Japan, one Samurai who had mastered his Katori Shinto Ryu was considered a "Kensei” (sword saint) indicating the highest degree of perfection. His name was Bokuden Tsukahara. He was born in Kashima, and travelled about Japan three times for sword training. He had 19 sword duels and joined 37 battles. He defeated 212 Samurai and was never injured. After his journeying around and honing his art, he formed Kashima Shinto Ryu at Kashima Shrine.
Because of these true legends of sword masters, Kashima Shrine and Katori Shrine are most important and sacred places for all Budo-ka (martial artists) - those who practice Japanese martial arts and sword fighting. Many Samurai, Budo-ka and Shogun visited those sacred shrines in the past and prayed for their success and glory. Even today, many Budo-ka still worship at these shrines and have those shrine’s Shinto scrolls in their Dojo (martial school) for their protection and eternal glory.
So, if you are interested in the history of or are practising Japanese martial arts, visit Kashima Shrine and Katori Shrine where the martial arts of Japan were born. You will feel the great souls of the true ancient sword masters and the spirits of warrior’s past.