Kanaya shrine is south of the river in Hagi and therefore a little off the main tourist track, but it was the premier shrine for the castle inhabitants at least. This big gate once held Nio, the Buddhist guardians that were removed in 1868 with the separation of Buddhas and Kami.
It was moved to this site in 1720, though I have been unable to find out exactly from where. Its location is just outside what was a major gate into the castle town. Whenever the daimyo had to travel to Edo for sankin kotai, the forced residence in Edo in alternate years, the entourage would stop first here and pray for a safe journey.
The main enshrined kami is Tenjin, the deified identity of Sugawara Michizane, and this is a branch shrine of Dazaifu Tenmangu.
Being patronized by the rulers, the shrine has lots of donated artworks..... which I will show in a later post...