Review from the Obstacle Course
Dr. Michael Peckitt

Ikuta Shrine located in Sannomiya, Chuo-ward Kobe, Japan, and is possibly among the oldest shrines in the country, as it was built in 201 AD on the request of the Empress Jingu. It said that it is ‘possibly’ the oldest because whilst Ikuta Shrine is certainly the oldest Shrine that remains standing in Japan, there is evidence of older settlements in nearby Nara, Osaka and Kyoto, leading some historians and anthropologists to ask why Japan started building Shrines at that particular time, and speculating that maybe there were older shrines that have been destroyed by earthquakes.

The Shrine is dedicated to the worship of the Sun Goddess, Wakahirume-no-Mikoto. In 806 AD officials from the imperial court were sent to serve at the shrine, and it is around this time that the place where Ikuta Shrine is located, which was already an important strategic port, commonly referred to as ‘Kamube’ or ‘kanbe’, is given the name ‘Kobe’.

As with every major Shrine, Ikuta has a staircase at its entrance, but it also has a side passage with a ramp, making it accessible for wheelchair users. The passage is narrow though, so larger wheelchairs might have trouble accessing the shrine.

Ikuta Shrine website (in Japanese):

Dr. Michael Gillan Peckitt is an academic who lives in Nada-Ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He runs the Japan and disability related website ‘The Limping Philosopher’ ( and you can find him on Twitter @Peckitt. Check out his ebooks on Amazon.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Have a Question? Ask us on Tabifolk

Skip to content