Birth place of first bank in Japan

In 1873, under a "National Bank Ordinance" enacted in the previous year, the first bank in Japan, "First National Bank" was established in Kabuto-cho. The building of that time was taken over from "Foreign Exchange Department of Mitsui Group" built by Mitsui Group. The architecture was famous for its superb semi-European style and rose up at the foot of Kaiun Bridge (the building was called "House of Mitsui Group").

At present, the plate indicating "Birth Place of First Bank in Our Country" is only fitted to the wall of the Kabuto-cho branch office of Mizuho Bank. In addition, the house of Eiichiro Shibusawa, the president of First National Bank, was located on the premises of the Bank (the house was moved in 1876).

Stone pillar of Kaiun Bridge

Kaiun Bridge used to connect between Kayaba-cho and the former moto-zaimokucho. The bridge was called "Shokan Bridge" or "Kaizoku Bridge" because there was a great house to the east of the bridge owned by Shokan Mukai (Magistrate Mukai) who was famous as a Kaizoku Bugyo (a magistrate for patrolling for pirates at that time). In 1875 when the Meiji era started, the name of the bridge was changed to "Kaiun Bridge" in the hope of luckiness and safety at sea ("Kai" means "sea" while "un" means "transportation". The pronunciation of "Kaiun", however, also refers to "Kai" meaning open, and "un" meaning luckiness). The name of Kaiun bridge became well-known when it was refurbished to an arched stone bridge in European style. However, having been damaged by the Great Kanto Earthquake, the bridge was rebuilt to an iron bridge in 1927. Afterwards, as the river was refilled to build an expressway, the bridge itself disappeared and only its stone pillar remains to the present day.

Site of Yoroi Bridge and Yoroi Ferry

There are a few bridges across Nihombashi River, one of which is Yoroi Bridge. Yoroi Bridge was first built in 1872 and around that time, municipal streetcars ran on the bridge. After the present Yoroi Bridge was completed in 1957, an expressway was built over the river. Therefore, Yoroi Bridge is currently positioned between the river and the expressway. The area around the Kabuto-cho district had a big harbor and a ferry to the Shimousa area (which covered north of Chiba prefecture, southwest of Ibaragi prefecture, east of Tokyo and Saitama prefecture) During the Eihou era (1081 to 1084), Yoshiie Minamoto came to the ferry to leave for his expedition of the east area. However, he could not use the ferry due to an abrupt rainstorm. Then, Yoshiie Minamoto took off his Yoroi (armor) to offer it to Ryu-jin (the god of sea) and pray. The storm subsided, enabling Yoshiie Minamoto to use the ferry. The ferry has been called "Yoroi ferry" ever since.

Kabuto Shrine

There is a small shrine to the north of the main building of Tokyo Stock Exchange across the road near Nihombashi River (1-8, Kabuto-cho, Nihombashi). This is Kabuto Shrine which is believed to be the guardian god of the securities industry (however, the shrine does not always seem to work wonders). Of the gods enshrined here, the main god is Ukano-mitamano-mikoto (another name of Oinari-san) who is a guardian god of business and other gods are Ookuni-nushinomikoto (Daikoku-sama) and Kotoshiro-nushinomikoto (Ebisu-sama).

It is not big for a shrine and its Shinto priest is not always present, however, when the shrine holds the annual spring festival on April 1, some priests come here from nearby shrines to conduct the ritual.

Kabuto-iwa (Kabuto rock)

There is a rock called "Kabuto-iwa" on the premises. There are three versions of the history surrounding this rock, but none has any concrete proof.

  1. When Yoshiie Minamoto made a triumphant return from Ooshu (part of the present Tohoku area) during the Three-year war in the 1080s, he buried his Kabuto (battle helmet). He made a mound by burying his kabuto in an area around Kaede River in the hope of stabilizing "Tooi" (people living in the east part of Japan) and for commemoration of his triumphant return from Ooshu. People at that time called the mound "Kabuto-zuka (Kabuto mound)", but as years passed by, it was called "Kabuto-iwa (Kabuto rock)".
  2. As Yoshiie Minamoto left to conquer Ooshu during the Nine-year war in the 1050s, he prayed for victory by hooking his kabuto to the rock. Since then, people have started calling the rock "Kabuto-iwa".
  3. During the "Battle of Johei" (935 to 940), when Hidesato Fujiwara brought the head of Masakado Taira to Kyoto with his kabuto, he buried the kabuto and made a mound to atone for his sins and pray for the repose of the soul of Masakado Taira. The mound was called "Kabuto yama (Mount Kabuto)" at that time. Afterwards, Kabuto Shrine was built there and only Kabuto-iwa has remained. (Source:"History of Kabuto Shrine, Gods of business" edited by Caretakers' Association of Kabuto Shrine)

History of Kabuto Shrine

In the late Edo period

Yoroi Inari and Kabuto mound around Yoroi Ferry used to enshrine Masakado Taira. However, they were believed to be the tutelary god of neighbors and fishers who visited the riverside fish market in the late Edo period.

In 1871

With the relocation of Tokyo Trading Company (one of the predecessors of Mitsui & Co., Ltd.), Yoroi Inari and Kabuto mound were moved to the area between Yoroi Ferry and Kabuto bridge. On this occasion, Kabuto Shrine was established with Kabuto mound as a center, enshrining Yoshiie Minamoto as its protectorate god. Afterwards, Kabuto Shrine and Yoroi Inari were merged into the present Kabuto Shrine which is the protective god of Kabuto-cho. In the same year, Yarouemon Mitsui of Mitsui Group applied for the name of "Kabuto-cho" to the then local government of Tokyo.

In 1874

In 1874, Kabuto Shrine decided to enshrine Ookuni-nushinomikoto and Kotoshiro-nomikoto instead of Yoshiie Minamoto.
The new enshrined gods were shared with Fuku shrine which was placed on the premises of Mimeguri- Inari Shrine (located in 2 chome, Mukou-jima, Sumida-ward). The shrine had been built by Mitsui family who possessed the whole area of Kabuto-cho at that time.

In 1878

With the establishment of the former Tokyo Stock Exchange (the predecessor of the current Tokyo Stock Exchange), Tokyo Stock Exchange became the representative of the shrine parishioners. Around that time, Kabuto Shrine was said to be the protectorate god of the securities industry.

In 1927

When Kabuto Shrine was moved to the present location at the confluence of Nihombashi River and Kaede River, the shrine pavilion was built in reinforced concrete.

In 1971

With the expansion of the expressway, Kabuto Shrine was moved to a nearby area. The shrine pavilion was refurbished in reinforced concrete and its roof plated with copper. Kabuto Shrine remains today as it was then.