The Ghost of Ikuta Shrine is one of the most famous ghost stories of haunted Kobe, and it has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries…
The story goes that a beautiful young woman named O-Hime (which actually just means ‘princess’ or ‘noblewoman’) fell in love with a samurai named Hikaru. They would meet secretly at the Ikuta Shrine, where they would profess their love for each other.
However, their love was not meant to be. O-Hime’s father disapproved of her relationship with Hikaru, and he forbade them from seeing each other. Heartbroken, the two lovers decided to elope. They made plans to meet at the Ikuta Shrine and run away together.
Unfortunately, their plan was discovered by O-Hime’s father, who was furious. He tracked them down to the shrine and confronted them. In the ensuing argument, Hikaru drew his sword and killed O-Hime’s father. In the chaos that followed, Hikaru was also killed.
Legend has it that O-Hime was so heartbroken by the loss of her lover that she took her own life on the grounds of the shrine. Ever since then, her spirit has been said to haunt the shrine, wandering the grounds in search of her lost love.
Visitors to the Ikuta Shrine have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a woman in white near the shrine, particularly at night. Some have even claimed to have heard her voice, calling out for her lover. The legend of O-Hime and Hikaru has become a popular tale in Kobe, and the shrine is often visited by tourists who are interested in the paranormal.
Despite the ghostly legend, the Ikuta Shrine remains a popular attraction in Kobe for its rich history and cultural significance. It is one of the oldest shrines in the city, dating back to at least the 3rd century AD. It is dedicated to the Shinto god of medicine and healing, and it has been an important site for prayer and worship for centuries. It’s surprising that there’s only one ghost at Ikuta, considering the often tragic history of the shrine.
In the 16th century, during the Sengoku period, the Ikuta Shrine was destroyed by a fire that swept through the city, leaving many dead on the shrine grounds. Ikuta was rebuilt, but it was again destroyed during the Siege of Osaka in the 17th century. The shrine was once again reconstructed, and it survived for several centuries until it was damaged during World War II.
During the war, the Ikuta Shrine was used as a military headquarters by the Japanese Imperial Army. The shrine was bombed by Allied forces, and much of the surrounding area was destroyed. The shrine was again rebuilt, but it was not until the post-war period that the city and the shrine began to recover.
Today, Ikuta is best known for its beautiful architecture and serene surroundings. Visitors can wander the grounds and admire the many torii gates, stone lanterns, and shrines that make up the complex. There is also a small museum on the premises that displays artifacts related to the history of the shrine.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the legend of the Ghost of Ikuta Shrine is an intriguing story that adds to the rich history and culture of haunted Kobe…where there are ghosts lurking just about everywhere! It is a reminder of the power of love and the tragic consequences that can result from its forbidden nature.
Ikuta Shrine is just a short walk from Lexis Kobe, up near Sannomiya Station. Just don’t go alone at night….
If you’d like to learn more about Ikuta Shrine, check out the official website here.