Kashima Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the Shinto kami Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, one of the patron deities of martial arts. Various dojo of kenjutsu and kendo sometimes display a kakejiku emblazoned with Kashima Taishin. The shrine is located in Kashima, Ibaraki and is the home of Kashima Shintō-ryū. During the New Year period, from the first to the third of January, Kashima Shrine is visited by over 600,000 people from all over Japan. It is the second most visited shrine in Ibaraki prefecture for New Year pilgrims.
Tsukahara Bokuden, one of the most distinguished swordmasters in Japanese history, was a frequent visitor to the shrine and the son of one of its four retainers. The Kashima Shintō-ryū school of martial art was developed by him and is said to be derived from a combination of his own experiences as a shugyōsha during Musha shugyō and the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū. Tsukuhara learned Katori Shintō-ryū from his adopted father at Katori Shrine which has a strong connection to Kashima Shrine and dedicated to a similar patron deity.