Kabushima Shrine

Shrine where black-tailed gull cries -
"Kabushima Shrine"

Island of Black-tailed Gulls, Kabushima Island

Kabushima Island is in Hachinohe City, Aoyama Prefecture. In 1942, the island was connected to the mainland after a landfill project, but until then, it was actually an island separated by the sea. The island is known as a breeding ground for black-tailed gulls, and was designated as a National Natural Monument as “Kabushima black-tailed gull breeding ground” in the Taisho era. Kabushima Shrine is located on Kabushima Island and dates back about 750 years. The image of Benten that emerged from the sea is said to have been enshrined there as “Kabushima Daimyojin Honchi Benzaiten”. Since then, the shrine has been called “Kabushima’s Benten” and has been visited by those seeking good fortune, fertility, business prosperity and safety in fishing.

“Good luck” falls from the sky.

Even when Nakata visited, the shrine was surrounded by the crying of the black-tailed gulls. Far more and much louder than he imagined, Nakata was surprised. “There must be problems from having so many gulls.” he commented. The immediate response was “It’s the droppings.”. “Visitors worry about the droppings falling on them. ” they said. Umbrellas can be rented for free, but they too are damaged quickly. So the shrine started to give out certificates to people who were hit with bird droppings, stating that anyone who got bird droppings would have better luck for one year. This made Kabushima Shrine more popular.

Shrine where black-tailed gulls cry.

Also in recent years, since the name “”Kabushima”” Shrine includes the word, “”kabu (stock)””, people began to say that visiting the shrine would help raise the value of stocks, leading to an increase in worshippers. Not only is the value said to increase, but also stock prices in general, thus attracting many investors. As previously mentioned, Kabushima Shrine is dedicated to Benzaiten who is a God of the performing arts, such as music. Since the Edo era, it evolved to be known as the God of the accumulation of wealth. Although it might have started as a pun, considering how it is worshipped now, it might not be altogether wrong.
The loud cries of the gulls could be heard nonstop at the shrine. Though quite different from most shrines where there is absolute serenity of a somewhat intense quality, this space provides a different kind of peace of mind that puts one in tune with nature.


56-2 Same, Samemachi, Hachinohe, Aomori