Kanegasakigu Shrine, the Shrine of Difficult Breakthroughs and Love
This shrine, located at the base of the ruins of Kanegasaki Fort, is known for its hundreds of spectacular cherry blossom trees. The Shinto rite of the Flower-exchanging Festival is held here from the first to the 15th of April.
One Story of a Difficult Breakthrough
When Oda Nobunaga was attacking the Asakura Clan, Nobunaga’s sister, O-ichi, learned that her brother was caught between the Asai and Asakura armies, so she is said to have sent a little bag of azuki beans, with strings tying it shut on both ends, to his camp to subtly let him know. Thus informed, Nobunaga withdrew then, and was later able to defeat both armies at the Battle of Anegawa. Kanegasakigu Shrine, located where this story took place, offers o-mamori charms and ema wooden votives shaped like bags tied shut at both ends.
“Flower-exchanging” and the Shrine of Love
During the Meiji era (1868–1912), men and women who would visit Kanegasakigu Shrine to see the cherry blossoms would suggest to each other, “Let’s exchange flowers.” The cherry blossom branches that they exchanged were said to represent how they felt about each other. This “flower exchange” came to be known to bring couples happiness in their futures together, and soon Kanegasakigu Shrine was known as the “Shrine of Love.” Even today, crowds of young Japanese people flock to the shrine year-round to pray that they might find their perfect match.
Ruins of Kanegasaki Fort
Kanegasaki Fort was located at the top of a slightly elevated mountain with a panoramic view of Tsuruga Bay. In the year 1336, it was the site of a battle between Nitta Yoshisada, the protector of the imperial princes Tsunenaga and Takanaga, and the Ashikaga army. The battle was harsh, and the 300-strong forces, including Prince Takanaga, were forced to set fire to the fort and take their own lives after defending the fort from the siege for half a year. Kanegasakigu Shrine, halfway up the mountain, is dedicated to these two princes.
Flower-exchanging Festival (held in April)
The Flower-exchanging Festival began as a prayer for finding romantic matches around 1910. A few years later, it had become the festival we know today. In its hundred-some years of history, this festival has brought countless couples together; perhaps your own love story might blossom at this year’s Flower-exchanging Festival? Today, the festival is known not only for matchmaking, but also as an annual celebration of prayers being answered, and is held every April in the cherry blossom-filled grounds of Kanegasakigu Shrine.
- Traffic access
- By car: Approx. 10 min. from Tsuruga IC on the Hokuriku Expressway
- By bus: Take the Tsuruga Excursion Line Bus (Tourism Route) from JR Tsuruga Station to Kanegasakigu Bus Stop (approx. 8 min.)
- New Address:
- 1-1 Kanegasaki-cho, Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture
- Free parking available (approx. 30 car spaces, 5 bus spaces)