The heads of each generation of the Shimadzu family are enshrined here along with their family members.
Shinto rites are still performed here today by members of the Shimadzu family to pay respects to their ancestors and pray for the prosperity and wellbeing of the people of Kagoshima.
After being granted control of a land holding called Shimadzu in Southern Kyushu by Minamoto no Yoritomo, Koremune Tadahisa took the name Shimadzu and became the protector of the three domains of Satsuma, Osumi, and Hyuga.
His descendants, the Shimadzu clan, watched over the land and people of Kagoshima for over 700 years from the Kamakura period (1185-1333) until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868).
Alongside brave warriors and inspirational leaders, the beautiful and sagacious Princess Kameju is also venerated here. Born as daughter of the 16th head of the Shimadzu family, Yoshihisa in 1571, Kameju was said to be very kind and was much loved by the people of Kagoshima.
When Kameju died she took the name Buddhist name Jimyo-in, and even today is affectionately referred to as Jime-saa by the people of Kagoshima. It is said that visitors to Tsurugane Shrine will be blessed with her beauty, and each year a ceremony called Jimyo-sai is held where women gather to pray for health and beauty.
Five senior retainers who served the Shimadzu clan are enshrined here along with their lord.
Forty five retainers who committed ritual suicide on the death of their lord are enshrined here among the heads of the Shimadzu clan. This practice, called junshi, was common until the end of the Sengoku period. Samurai were often ordered to refrain from committing junshi, but insisted on doing so when their lord passed away, showing their utter commitment to service of their lord.