Greetings everyone,My name is Yuko Nakajima and I serve as the head priestess for shrines located in Togane, Oami Shirosato, Sanmu, and Kujukuri in Chiba Prefecture.
Greetings everyone, my name is Yuko Nakajima and that's me in the picture with my pet bird and hydrangea. I am the head priestess who serves the shrines located in Togane, Oami Shirosato, Sanmu, and Kujukuri in Chiba Prefecture.
The role of head priest and priestess of Hachiman Shrine is role that has been passed down from generation-to-generation in the Nakajima family, and after I graduated from university I briefly served at shrines in Saitama Prefecture. After my service in Saitama, I returned to Chiba, where I became the 36th member of the Nakajima family to take on the role of head priestess. Since becoming head priestess I have taken over the role of maintaining 36 shrines throughout a region that is continuing to see a declining population.
While I was a student in college I served at a number of different shrines, and I feel that shrines provide way to spiritually enrich the lives of people in the local communities they are located.
Each shrine that I serve at offers something unique, and some shrines are located deep in the mountains and have some truly magnificent wooden sculptures.
Currently I also operate a lodging I call Kagura. Kagura is located in the city of Togane and this is an area that is rich with history and culture, and the origin of the name of my lodging lends itself from this history which I would like to tell you about here.
The name Kagura is based upon the events of the distant past in Togane-Ienoko area. The granddaughter of Emperor Godaigo (reigned as Emperor from 1318 to 1339), Princess Kizo came to this region and she noticed that it had closely resembled Kamakura where her father resided and decided that this land was, “good” and suitable to build a palace on. Since the palace was built by a member of the imperial family (Miyake No Ko in Japanese) the area near the palace was referred to as Miyake No Ko which later became Ienoko. The nearby area also received influence from other members of the imperial family and the neighboring region was named Himeshima derived from Princess Kagura.
It’s from this local history that I derived the name Kagura for my lodging, and in recent years the Ienoko area has seen an increase in vacant homes, and there was a fire a number of years ago that broke out and destroyed some of these empty buildings.
Since this land was once the same land that Princess Kezo saw as good, I wanted to make use of an empty home on this same land as a means to share Japanese culture with the rest of the world. That is why I created this lodging, and I was able to do so with the help and good will of so many people.
Kagura is located in the city of Togane facing the neighboring village of Kujukuri, and has a population of just over 60,000 people. There are buses that run from Tokyo Station, Narita Airport, and Haneda Airport to Togane, which makes it surprisingly easy to access.
In Togane there are a number of old shrines and temples with a deep history and in Yukari Park there is a shrine visited by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Togane is also known for cherry blossoms, and there is an absolutely beautiful cherry blossom illumination that can be enjoyed at night along Lake Hakkaku.
Togane has many local delicacies worth tasting, such as sushi rolls and neighboring Kujukuri is famous for dishes using sardines called, “Namero” and “Nagarami.” In addition to these foods, there are many ramen shops and even a street lined with a number of good ramen restaurants.
But that’s not all, Togane also offers a bounty of fruits, which include strawberry and grape harvests.
Though Togane is not well known, it’s a comfortable place to live and a charming little town.
Also, since Togane’s history is tied in with princesses one can also rent out women’s kimonos and retro style one piece dresses.
Please come visit Kagura, and make it your home away from home.
The visits that I put together for guests are arranged around my work at the shrines I serve, yet I hope to strive to provide a visit that sure to impress.
Please come visit Kagura, and experience something new.