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Kehi Jingu Shrine

The remarkable Kehi Jingu Shrine in Fukui Prefecture is the chief guardian shrine of the Hokuriku region.

By Jeanne Croteau

In the heart of Tsuruga, you’ll find the deeply loved and highly revered Kehi Jingu Shrine. Immediately recognizable by its gorgeous, bright torii (shrine gate), the shrine’s history dates back more than 1,300 years. Affectionately known as “Kei-san” to locals, Kehi Jingu Shrine is an integral part of the Hokuriku region.

One of Fukui Prefecture’s most important shrines, it’s particularly famous for its sacred water and unique matchmaking omamori (protection charms), shaped like the clamshell’s top and bottom halves. Kehi Jingu’s romantic fortunes are also well-known as they contain old-fashioned love poems.

The Chief Guardian Shrine of Hokuriku

Kehi Jingu ShrinePhoto by: Jeanne Croteau

Founded in 702, Kehi Jingu Shrine is the chief guardian shrine of the Hokuriku region. As people made their way along the old highway, many stopped at Kehi Jingu to pray to the local gods. Eventually, it became the ichinomiya or highest-ranked Shinto shrine, of the former Echizen Province.

As it was being built, a mysterious spring was discovered. Its waters, known as chomeisui or “water of long life,” are considered sacred with many believing they can bring a long, healthy life. In addition to bringing longevity, it’s said that this water can provide protection against all illnesses. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the chomeisui is used in the shrine’s many festivals.

The Famous Wooden Torii Gate

Kehi Jingu ShrinePhoto by: Jeanne Croteau

Constructed from juniper wood that washed up on Tsuruga’s shores from Sado Island, the vermilion-painted torii gate at the entrance to Kehi Jingu Shrine has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. Alongside Nara’s Kasuga-Taisha Shrine and Hiroshima’s Itsukushima Shrine, the 11-meter structure at Kehi Jingu is considered one of the three greatest wooden torii gates in Japan.

This beautiful gate isn’t the only noteworthy structure at Kehi Jingu, though. In the late 17th century, the famous poet, Matsuo Basho, visited the shrine. To commemorate this moment, a statue and a stone monument inscribed with his poetry were erected in his honor and can still be found on the grounds of the shrine.

Truly Magnificent Festivals

Kehi Jingu Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/A/中村陽一 A light-up event at Kehi Jingu Shrine.

Throughout the year, but especially during the summer months, Kehi Jingu Shrine is home to many fantastic events. In June, at an actual rice field in front of the main shrine, the Otaue Rice Planting Festival demonstrates a mock-rice-planting ceremony and offers a special song to pray for a bumper crop.

A month later, on July 22, Kehi Jingu holds the wonderfully romantic Sosansai Festival. The event’s backstory is reminiscent of the Tanabata Festival, in which Emperor Chuai, one of Kehi’s deities, crosses the ocean to reunite with Empress Consort Jingu, the deity of Jogu Shrine.

In September, the Tsuruga Festival, widely considered one of the greatest events in the Hokuriku region, takes place. The people of Tsuruga gather to carry mikoshi shrines and six incredible floats around the city. The carnival parade, festival plaza and evening folk dances are all highly recommended.

Things To Know

hours and fees

Kehi Jingu Shrine is open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can purchase goshuin stamps and omamori (amulets and charms) during these hours. There are no admission fees.

How To Get There


By train

From JR Tsuruga station take the Tsuruga Excursion Line Bus (Tourism Route) to Kehi Jingu bus stop. It takes about three minutes. 

By car

The shrine is approximately 10 minutes from Tsuruga IC on the Hokuriku Expressway. Free parking is available with approximately ten spaces near the Torii gate in front, and additional space for approximately 50 cars or ten bus spaces east of the main shrine building.

Where To Stay

Tsuruga Manten Hotel Ekimae (Manten Hotel Chain)
  • 401-4 Kunihirocho, Tsuruga-shi, Fukui, 914-0059 Japan
  • ¥7,800 - ¥22,560
  • 3.98/5 (1,205 reviews)
  • 1.0 km
Hotel Granbinario Tsuruga
  • 1-3-46 Kanawacho, Tsuruga-shi, Fukui, 914-0055 Japan
  • ¥8,400 - ¥44,200
  • 4.35/5 (318 reviews)
  • 1.2 km
Hotel Select Inn Tsuruga
  • 15-8-12 Nogami, Tsuruga-shi, Fukui, 914-0121 Japan
  • ¥5,600 - ¥26,600
  • 3.25/5 (1,050 reviews)
  • 2.5 km

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