One of Itamuro onsen town’s three well-known shrines, Kagoiwa Shrine is famous for its association with the miraculous curing of breast cancer.
The story goes that long ago, a cancer sufferer who visited the area to bathe in its hot springs later found themselves completely cured. Believing the blessing to have come from a god, thought to be residing in the nearby caves and hollows, the person is believed to have donated a ‘jizo’ (stone Buddhist statue), placing it within the hollow as a symbol of gratitude to the deity.
These days, numerous jizo can be seen in the hollow, all of which are depicted with the left side of the breast visible – believed to have come about as a response to the thankful prayers of those whose cancer has naturally healed.
Consequently, it is of no surprise that the jizo are considered highly sacred objects, to the extent that Itamuro onsen town has even been associated with a proverb declaring that one “does not need one’s (walking) stick” if visiting.
The shrine’s annual festival day is held on the 8th of August.
※Please note that the shrine cannot be visited directly after an earthquake or other natural disaster.
The Kagoiwa Jizo are located just in front of Kagoiwa Shrine.