Whether you call it Demon Slayer or Kimetsu no Yaiba, Kamado Shrine is the place to go for fans of the hit anime/manga.

Many of Japan’s shrines and temples are beloved not just for their religious significance, but for their beautiful aesthetic qualities. Honmangu Kamado Shrine, for example, is famous for its cherry blossoms in spring and beautiful red and yellow leaves in autumn.

These days, though, there’s another beautiful sight appearing at the shrine: an amazing collection of anime fan art!

“Kamado” might ring a bell to anime fans, since aside from being the name of this shrine, it’s also the family name of Tanjiro Kamado, the hero of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the hottest-selling manga in Japan these days which also has a TV anime adaptation and a theatrical feature on the way later this year. Thanks to the overlapping names, Kamado Shrine, which is located in the town of Dazaifu in Fukuoka Prefecture, has become a pilgrimage site for fans of the series, and we decided to stop by and check it out for ourselves.

The shrine was founded in 644, and is located about a 10-minute drive from Dazaifu Station. As for why it shares its name with a manga/anime hero, Demon Slayer’s creator, Koyoharu Gotoge, is from Fukuoka, and with Daizaifu boasting the most famous array of shrines and temples in the prefecture, it’s practically a given that he visited the shrine at some point.

While Kamado Shrine today is most famous for its enmusubi and yakuyoke charms (meant to ensure good romantic/social connections and ward off misfortune, respectively), it was originally built as a barrier to keep the surrounding community safe from evil spirits, which fits in nicely with Demon Slayer’s supernatural action aspect. There’s a visual connection to the anime too. Practitioners of Shugendo, a type of traditional ascetic worship, who train themselves on the mountain behind Kamado Shrine wear a checker-pattern jacket similar to the one Tanjiro is constantly depicted in.

After offering a prayer, we made our way over to the racks where visitors hang ema (prayer boards). The backsides of the boards are blank, giving you a place to write the wish you hope for the gods to grant, but at Kamado Shrine, most of the ema these days sport Demon Slayer fan art.

There’s a wide range of artistic talent, from quick doodles to painstakingly rendered tributes to that fan’s favorite character. Likewise, the wishes are rich in variety, with both lighthearted requests for the happiness of the Demon Slayer cast and prayers for relief from the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

“Academic achievement” (left) and “Eradication of the coronavirus” (right)

▼ Aside from the cool anime art, we were also lucky enough to spot this kitty taking a nap under the enmusubi fortune tree.

Kamado Shrine isn’t as well known as Dazaifu’s more famous attractions, but that also means the crowds are smaller, and with a connection to both Japan’s distant past and current pop culture, it’s a great example of how Japan’s cultural heritage remains a part of modern life.

Location information
Homangu Kamado Shrine / 宝満宮 竈門神社
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Dazaifu-shi, Daijiuchiyama 883

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[ Read in Japanese ]

【聖地】『鬼滅の刃』ファンの参拝客が急増している「竈門(かまど)神社」に行ってきた / 福岡県太宰府市