[Feature] Kumano Shrine! A power spot for love
Hi, it’s Naomi Sato, the writer living in Yamagata City.
2020 it will be the first New Year since the era changed to Reiwa.
I would like to introduce the Kumano Taisha shrine in Nanyo City that I would like to visit for the first time.
◆ Kumano Taisha shrine, the Ise shrine of Tohoku!
Yamagata is known for its various shrines and temples, but the most famous of them is probably the Kumano Taisha shrine in Miyauchi, Nanyo City.
It is a very ancient shrine, which is also called “Ise in the Tohoku” because 30 gods are enshrined.
There is also a very important holy shrine that was built during the Muromachi period and is registered as a designated cultural property of the prefecture.
It seems that there are various benefits just by walking around the premises.
◆ Japan's oldest proposal... The deities of marriage are here!?
In fact, Kumano Taisha is slowly gaining popularity among women who are curious about its successful matchmaking stories.
The deities enshrined in Kumano Taisha are Izanagi Mikoto and Izanami Mikoto, the first known matched male and female deities in the Nihon Shoki.
Many people are visiting from all over Japan to pray for the blessings of these deities of marriage.
A special prayer festival is held once a month to connect couples.
Since the Shinto ritual is held at night there is a bus pick-up service from JR Akayu station nearby.
The JR Akayu Station is also a Shinkansen bullet train stop, useful if you live far away, so why not come and try praying?
◆ If you find it, your wish will come true... Legend of the Three Rabbits
Another famous aspect of the shrine is its legend of the Three Rabbits.
Three carved rabbits are hidden on the back of the main hall of Kumano Taisha.
It is said that those who find the three rabbits will also find happiness and that their wishes for love will come true.
Therefore, many visitors go to the back of the shrine buildings looking for the rabbits.
However, what I would like you to be aware of here is that if you ask or tell the location of a rabbit to anyone, you will not benefit from their blessings.
If you do find a rabbit, keep it for yourself and just wait for happiness to come.
However, there is also a leaflet with hints on the locations of the first two rabbits so do not worry.
Amulets and shuin seals
Shuin stamp books and amulets, which are now essential items for shrine worship, can be purchased at the area opposite of the worship hall.
There are a wide variety of amulets, some looking like the ginkgo trees that stand high at the entrance of the shrine grounds, and cute figurines with a rabbit motif.
Isn’t it perfect as a souvenir?
◆ Beautiful decorations that shine in photos
In addition, the Kumano Taisha shrine is beautifully decorated in accordance with the season.
In spring, it is decorated with cherry blossom flower art, and in the summer, wind chimes make a cool sound.
In the fall, “fallen leaves art” using dead leaves of the ginkgo and maple trees, and other beautiful artificial flowers decorations when the temperature is cold, are displayed in the water ablution pavilion.
You can feel the ingenuity of the four seasons and feel very happy every time you visit, so please take a walk around the shrine grounds.
◆ Empowering stylish café
The retro building at the entrance of the Kumano Taisha shrine is the Icho Café.
This former shop was renovated and opened in 2015.
The owner is local, and the menu is lined up with plenty of ingredients from the prefecture and mostly the Okitama region.
I ordered the set with coffee and a piece of cake of seasonal fruits.
It was a cake with La France pears from Yamagata on that day. The texture of the fruit was crisp and a perfect match with coffee.
There are also fluffy French toasts and dishes such as Napolitan pasta.
In addition, smoothies made with local ingredients such as Delaware and Okahijiki are also popular.
Thanks to the wood-burning stove, the shop is very warm.
There is no doubt that your cold body will warm up after your worship outside.
2020 is a year full of major events such as the Tokyo Olympics. I think that the movement of people will be active both in Japan and overseas.
I would like to promote tourist spots unique to Japan, such as shrines.
If you live in Yamagata prefecture, please come reaffirm the goodness of this local area, and if you haven’t visited Yamagata yet, please come visit!