Hōkoku Shrine

Hōkoku Shrine

A Shintō shrine celebrating warriors of the Warring States period

place Area: Nagahama access_time Published: 2020.12.07

Name in Japanese: 豊国神社
Pronunciation: hōkoku jinja

Hōkoku Shrine is located in Nagahama, at the edge of the area of traditional streets, close to the castle. The shrine has several stone torii gates and one of red lacquered wood. The main hall of the shrine has dark gables decorated with gold filigree. Its roof is tile with a porch of cedar bark. Next to it is a red Inari shrine, with a roof of tile and bark. Around the perimeter of the shrine facing the road are rows of stone lanterns. Old pine trees grace the grounds, making this a particularly attractive shrine complex.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the lord of Nagahama Castle from 1573 to 1576, and the shrine was built in 1600 by the townspeople of Nagahama in his memory. He’s worshipped here as Hōkoku Daimyōjin, the Great Luminous Deity of Our Bountiful Country. Two other historical figures who fought for the Toyotomi are enshrined here. Kato Kiyomasa was renowned as one of the Seven Spears of Shizugatake, and Kimura Shigenari died at the Summer Siege of Ōsaka, defending Hideyoshi’s son from the Tokugawa forces. Another deity worshipped here is Kotoshironushi, otherwise known as Ebisu.

Since the Toyotomi were at odds with the Tokugawa who replaced them, worship of Hideyoshi was forbidden by the Edo Shogunate, and the shrine was demolished. The deities were moved to the town elder’s house by the townspeople. After that, the old shrine of Hachimangū was relocated and reconstructed as a shrine dedicated to Ebisu, but Hideyoshi continued to be secretly enshrined behind the main shrine. This is why Ebisu is also enshrined at the current Hōkoku Shrine.

After the Meiji Restoration, the name Hōkoku Shrine was revived, and the hall of worship was rebuilt in 1898, the 300th anniversary of Hideyoshi’s death. There’s a fine statue of Kato Kiyomasa looking fearsome guarding a utility pole. Around the shrine are many little effigies of Ebisu with his fish.


place 6-37, Minami-gofukuchō, Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture