Aoshi Shrine

Enshrining  Makino Tadatoki.

Aoshi Shrine

Aoshi Shrine has mostly retained its original appearance for almost two and a half

centuries. It survived the devastation of an air raid during World War II, although many

of Nagaoka’s shrines and temples were heavily damaged or destroyed. Parts of it were

rebuilt after World War II.

 The Makino family ordered the shrine’s construction in 1781. At that time, the

family led the Nagaoka domain, centered at Nagaoka Castle in what is today the city of

Nagaoka. The design of Aoshi Shrine models that of Nikko Tosho-gu, one of Japan’s

most famous shrines, which is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), founder of

the shogunate that ruled Japan for more than two centuries.


 Along a path to the rear of the shrine are gravestones of the lords of the Nagaoka

domain. Makino Tadanari (1581–1655) assumed control of Nagaoka Castle in 1618,

and the Makino family ruled for the next twelve generations.

 The final Makino to serve as daimyo was Makino Tadakatsu (1859–1918), whose

reign ended in 1871 with the abolition of the feudal system and the end of the local

domains. He would later go on to become a regional governor under Japan’s new

system of government.

 A short walk from there lies a memorial to those who gave their lives during two

civil wars, the Boshin War (1868–1869) and the Seinan War (1877). A preserved

torpedo casing from a Japanese submarine forms part of the memorial.

 Today, the shrine plays a prominent role in a number of traditional customs. Perhaps

best known is “Shichi-Go-San (“Seven-Five-Three”). This custom is observed for

Japanese children around November 15 each year when families bring children of the

ages 3, 5, and 7 to the shrine to pray for their future well-being, success, and happiness.

Weddings take place in front of the shrine from April to October, and an array of

fortunes and votive tablets are available year-round.

 Shrines of this type are traditionally associated with good health and happiness.

These days, however, people visit shrines seeking assistance with a variety of life


 Sacred gate

 Aoshi Shrine is a spiritual and social center for the people of Nagaoka. In times of

joy and times of trouble, it endures as a symbol of hope, peace, and ongoing prosperity

for the city.

This English-language text was created by the Japan Tourism Agency.