This jutsu was created by Minato Namikaze, and quite possibly the reason behind his nickname, "Konoha's Yellow Flash" (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光, Konoha no Kīroi Senkō). It allows the user to move himself to another location in the blink of an eye. Although it is often compared with the Body Flicker Technique, the speed and range of this jutsu are much greater. In principle, this jutsu is similar to the Reverse Summoning Technique, as it revolves around manipulation of time and space rather than accelerated movement, but instead of bringing something to users, it sends them somewhere. This technique can also be used with other people and it can be used to teleport other people along with the user.
To activate this jutsu, the user needs a special seal or "technique formula" (術式, jutsu-shiki) to mark the destination. After this is done, the user enters a dimensional void that almost instantaneously transports himself to the location of the seal. Minato applied the formula in advance to weapons such as kunai. By giving one such kunai to a person, he can immediately teleport to that person at any time. He can also apply the mark to a touched area, such as his opponent or some other surrounding feature. Minato also incorporated the formula into his wife's seal, allowing him to come to her aid at all times.
It is because of this technique that Konoha came out victorious in the Iwagakure-Konohagakure Ninja War, despite already running short on manpower in the frontlines. After having his subordinates toss marked kunai randomly into the enemy ranks, Minato used the technique to appear within their ranks, using the great speed of this technique to seemingly appear to be in several places at once and wipe out entire squadrons one by one in moments before they could even react.
The name Hiraishin is also the phonic of the Japanese word 避雷針, which means "lightning rod"; this may suggest the reasoning as to why the technique is restricted towards a seal, because lightning is attracted to lightning rods.