下 馬 Horse Dismount
Updated: Jan 18, 2020
Wakamiya Ōji used to pass over three bridges (see Edo period print above): the first was Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū's Akabashi, the second was at Ni no Torii, where a brook (now covered but still visible on Komachi Dōri) crossed Wakamiya Ōji. The third was at today's Geba (Horse Dismount) intersection, where, according to a brass plaque found near the spot, the Sansuke river flows. (The river was covered in the 1960s to ease traffic.) Because at each bridge there was a sign with the order for horsemen to dismount, they were called respectively Kami no Geba (上の下馬 Upper Geba), Naka no Geba (中の下馬 Middle Geba) and Shimo no Geba (下の下馬 Lower Geba). Only the third name stuck. At Shimo no Geba riders would get off their horses and proceed on foot, in deference to the shrine ahead.
The Sekihi, or stele, in front of the gas station at this busy intersection along Wakamiya Ōji reads:
A long time ago, when samurai came to worship at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, they had to dismount from their horses here, and for that reason this place was called Geba. The name has remained. Geba has an important position within Kamakura and old stories tell how it was often a battleground. It is said that, on September 12, 1271, Nichiren, arrested in his hut in Nagoe and on his way to the execution ground in Tatsunokuchi to be beheaded, turned to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū and yelled: "Hachiman Bosatsu, if you are a kami, give me a sign for the sake of Buddhism!"
Erected in 1937 by the Kamakura Seinendan Young Adult Association.