Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine – Hometown for Legendary Giant Yagoro-don – (Soo City)



I visited Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine after watching the festival “Yagoro-don’s Hamakudari (Procession)” .


History and God

Soo City

Above picture is the scenery around Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine. Beautiful landscape of agricultural fields spreads.

Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine is said to be build in 1025 (Heian Period).

Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine worships following Gods.

Emperor Ojin

The shrine Emperor Ojin as the main God. Emperor Ojin is commonly known as the name of “Hachiman” in Japan.


The God is the guardian deity of birthplace and has protected the local people of the surrounding area of the shrine. Local people has respected the God for family safety, healthy life, business prosperity, crop richness, livestock prosperity and the like.


He is believed to be the legendary giant who lived in the region. He was the hero for local people and saved them from natural disasters such as floods. He is the God of health, long life, good luck and warding off evil.


Shrine Gate

I visited the shrine at the time of the shrine’s famous “Yagoro-don Hamakudari (procession)” Festival.

The festival is held on 3 November.

Many crowds gathered at the in front of the shrine gate.

They were waiting for the appearance of Yagoro-don.

shrine gate of iwakawa-hachiman shrine

Huge Yagoro-don (4.85m) appeared from the shrine!

yagoro-don festival


Yagoro-don marches around the towns. The festival is very impressive!


Steps to Shrine

After watching Yagoro-don’s Hamakudari Festival I visited the Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine.

Main shrine building is located at the top of small hill. There were many visitors.

steps to main shrine building


Main Shrine Building

Many visitors are in line to make prayers.

iwakawa-hachiman shrine

I washed my hands and mouth at Temizuya (following picture) before prayer.



Large shoes were put in front of the main shrine building.

I thought that the shoes must belong to Yagoro-don.

shoes for yagoro-don


I found other shoes of Yagoro-don in front of the shrine office.

shoes for yagoro-don

I walked around the shrine building after prayer.

The sacred camphor tree of the shrine was impressive.

sacred tree of iwakawa-hachiman shrine

Following place is called Yohaijo, or the place to pay respect to emperor’s residence in Tokyo and Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture at the direction of east-northeast.


Ise Shrine worships Amaterasu which is the ancestral God of emperors.


Good Luck Fortunes

Many beautiful fortunes were sold at the shrine office.

good luck fortunes of iwakawa-hachiman shrine

This is the Ema fortunes (write your wish on their back and hung them at designated places of shrine).

Yagoro-don is depicted on them.


The Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine is said to have benefits of husbandry.

My family member runs a cattle farm and I bought the following shrine seal for the family.

shrine seal


Shrine Seal

I received a shrine seal of Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine.

shrine seal of Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine

Yagoro-don’s stamp is put on it. It has distinctive local taste.


Related Articles

Yagoro-don Festival on 3rd November

Yagoro-Don Festival - Dynamic Marching of Legendary Giant - (Soo City)
Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine's Sacred Ceremony "Yagoro-don's Hamakudari (Procession)" Festival is held 3rd November at Soo City, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Marching procession of big statue of legendary giant "Yagoro-don" is very impressive.


Travel Information of Iwakawa-Hachiman Shrine


About 10 minutes from Sueyoshi-Takarabe IC of Higashi-Kyushu Expressway by car.

Shrine Festival

Yagoro-don Festival (3rd November – 5th November)


5745, Iwagawa, Osumi-cho, Soo City


Yagoro-don Festival is famous.



Shrine & Temple