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Kyoto Mystery Hunter, Chisa ~No.2 “Displayed Samurai’s Head”~


When you hear the word Kyoto city, what do you imagine? History? Traditions? Temples? Kimono? Old capital? Beautiful? Of course Kyoto is a very traditional beautiful city and it has great history, but Kyoto also has threatening history and stories behind.


Shijo Karasuma We have one of the busiest area in Kyoto called “Shijo Karasuma”, which is downtown of Kyoto and there are many office buildings. Shijo Karasuma is located in center of Kyoto city; it takes 5 minuets by subway Karasuma line from Kyoto station. It is also known as the most historical area of Kyoto.


Shijo Karasuma is a starting point of Yamaboko Junkou for Gion Festival, which is one of the 3 major festivals in Japan. Yamaboko Junko is a very famous parade of Gion Festival that 33 floats towed through streets in Kyoto. However it also has Kouyakuno Zushi Today, I would like to introduce the path called “Kouyakuno Zushi”, 5 minuets waking towards west from Shijo Karasuma.

Zushi means a path runs between streets in Japanese and Kouyakuno Zushi runs from Shijo Street to Ayanoko-ji Street. It looks like very typical path in Kyoto, but it has very threatening story.



Tairano Masakado Story Taira no Masakado was a samurai lived in Heian period, he was very strong Samurai at that time, he beat most of powerful Samurai in Eastern Japan. Then he gained power and dominated Eastern Japan, after he got so much power, he called him self “Shinkou” (New Emperor in Japanese). Japanese government (Choutei, it was in Kyoto) took it as a rebellion and they sent troops and he was defeated and killed. When he was attacked, he had only 400 warriors but governments had more than 4000.

To show government’s power, Tairano Masakado’s head was displayed on Kouyakuno Zushi. However, after Tairano Masakado was killed, many curses happened and many people suffered from disease. There is a myth telling, Masakado’s head didn’t rot and his eyes shined for moths and shouted, “Where is my body, bring my body here I would have a war”. Also his head flew back to Tokyo itself, and people believe that the place his head dropped is still cursed today.


To stop his curse, famous monk, Kamiyasyounin built a shrine called “Kanda Myo-jin” on Kouyakuno Zushi to send Masakado’s spirit (Joubutsu). Now, Tairano Masakado is known as one of the most threatening revengeful ghost in Japan. How did you like today’s mystery?? Kyoto is a very historical beautiful city, but it also has threatening history. Look forward for next mystery! Bye!



Kyoto Mystery Hunter, Chisa ~No.2 将門のさらし首“Displayed Samurai’s Head”~】 Downtown in Kyoto, there is a threatening place, where famous killed sumarai’s head was displayed. Kyoto Mystery Hunter, Chisa investigates the story.

Is it scary for you?

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