Kamakura is a city south of Tokyo that is nicknamed “Little Kyoto”. Full of temples and shrines, it is a lovely city with a dark history.
Over seven hundred years ago the Shogunate of Kamakura ruled Japan. No one is entirely sure where the name “Kamakura” came from, but historians speculate it is a reference to the geography of the city.
Walls surrounded it on three sides and the fourth opens to the ocean, one that rocky shoals block during low tide. Considered a natural fortress, the city has historically been a nightmare to take by opposing armies.
That all changed in 1333 when forces of the Emperor managed to get into through an unusually low tide. A blood bath ensued in the attack that followed, one that ended the Kamakura Shogunate forever.
In a little plot of woodland, one that looks unassuming, is a small stone marker to the 870 samurai who killed themselves by harakiri. They cut themselves open before they were beheaded by a servant. They did this rather than accept defeat.
The Shogun, Hojo Takatori, was the first, then the others followed. Witnesses described the ground of that area becoming a “lake of blood”.
To this day, this little area before the Gion Yama Hiking Trail, is considered the most haunted place in Kamakura. The witching hour is considered to be 2 am and residents tell stories of hearing odd sounds and witnessing ghostly samurai in the dark woods.
Here are two videos I made about this ghostly hotspot. Click on the pictures if you are interested in learning more:
And here is another video I made about the Gion Yama Trail and the history of this ghostly place: