Ladieslove shrines

Ten shrines to help realise dreams of love & romance

Ladies’  love shrines

Konkatsu is a recent fad that has received much publicity. This newly-coined word, an abbreviation for kekkon katsudo, signifies the idea of marriage hunting. But listen up ladies: before commencing in any konkatsu of your own, consider whether your dream is to find that special someone or merely a run-of-the-mill marriage partner. On Jan 20 1905, Yuki Kato, a then popular geisha of Gion, married George D. Morgan, nephew to the founder of J.P. Morgan. Consequently, Yuki Kato become known as Morgan O-Yuki, and Jan 20 became known as Tamanokosi-no-hi (marrying into wealth day). Inspired by these two lovers’ passionate story, With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, now is the ideal time to visit some Tokyo shrines to increase your chances of finding true love. Cross your fingers and let the powers that be do the rest.

Tokyo Daijingu

First established in 1880, the Shinto shrine Tokyo Daijingu is also known as ‘Tokyo’s O-Ise-san’ because of its affiliations with Isejingu shrine in Mie. Of all the shrines in Tokyo, this one — famous for blessing its worshippers with luck in finding their perfect companion — is particularly popular. Even on weekdays, the grounds practically overflow with women troubled in love. Other visitors include those wishing to reinforce the love already found. Amongst the various goods on offer, such as enmusubi-ema (marriage votive pictorial offerings); musubi-fuda (plate wishing to tie the knot); negai-bumi (prayer letter to God); enmusubi-omikuji (written marriage fortunes); and koimikuji (written love fortunes), the enmusubi-suzuran-mamori (lily of the valley shaped marriage charms), at ¥700, are particularly popular. Tokyo Daijingu is also renowned for its locale as Japan’s very first Shinto wedding.

Address: 2-4-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3262 3566

Nishiarai Daishi

Established by the legendary Japanese monk Kobo Daishi, Nishiaraidaishi’s official name is Gochisan Henjoin Souji-ji. Its grounds contain a sacred place thought to ward off evil and grant its visitors good fortune. Furthermore, because it’s never been seriously damaged by fire, worshipping visitors may also avoid such disasters. Although not directly related to Nishiaraidaishi, stalls inside the grounds sell ‘Nishiaraidaishi rings.’ These are reputed to bring about such great luck that people queue up to buy them all throughout the week. A ring, charm and prayer set costs ¥3,000— whether this price is expensive or cheap can only be judged by the fortune it brings. Similar stalls are also found at Togenuki Jizoson temple in Sugamo on the 4th, 14th, and 24th of each month.

Address: 1-15-1 Nishiarai, Adachi, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3890 2345

Kanda Myoujin

Kanda Myoujin was first established circa 730 and is dedicated to three main Shinto deities including ‘Ohnamuchi-no-mikoto,’ the deity of marriage. This particular deity is also enshrined at in Shimane prefecture’s Grand Shrine of Izumo , and is said to have the divine power to grant married couples harmony and prosperity. Sets of white and scarlet coloured marriage charms or enmusubi-omamori sell for ¥1,000. Not yet married but looking for love? Legend says that one of these charms should be given to the object of your romantic desires and luck will soon follow.

Address: 2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3254 0753

Yoyogi Hachimangu

Yoyogi Hachimangu enshrines Oujin Tenno, a deity said to ward off evil and grant worshippers fortune. Considering the shrine’s city location, it's uncannily quiet. Surrounded by verdant greenery, the shrine also draws many visitors wishing to escape Tokyo’s hustle and bustle. Crimson-coloured crystal enmusubi-mamori (marriage charms) reputed to purify and open the hearts of their bearers are available for ¥1,000 a piece.

Address: 5-1-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3466 2012

Izumo Taisha Tokyo Bunshi

Located next to Roppongi Hills, Izumo Taisha Tokyo Bunshi shares its deity, Okuninushi-no-Okami, with the Grand Shrine of Izumo. As Tokyo’s only shrine with this powerful connection, Izumo Taisha is considered convenient and popular with people wishing to find fulfillment in love. Surrounded by buildings, the shrine stands neatly tucked away in a quiet residential area and is easy to miss. A wide variety of charms and various goods are available including enmusubi-ema (marriage votive pictorial offerings), enmusubi-no-ito (marriage string charms) and enmusubi-mamori (marriage charms) for ¥1,000.

Address: 7-18-5 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3401 9301

Imado Jinja

Imado Jinja enshrines god and goddess, Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto. Imado is also the birthplace of Maneki Neko (porcelain cats with one paw raised to beckon good fortune). Priced at ¥3,000, this shrine’s unique Imado-Yaki Maneki Neko are said to beckon good fortune for couples as the neko come as a male and female fused at the hip. Also sold are enmusubi-omamori (marriage charms) that have an embroidered image of a Maneki Neko in various colours (often updated) for the measly price of ¥800.

Address: 1-5-22 Imado, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3872 2703

Akasaka Hikawa Jinja

The Akasaka Hikawa Jinja shrine is located in a quiet residential area of Akasaka. Susano-O-no-Mikoto, the Shinto god of sea storms; Yamato-no-Orochi, the eight-headed serpent; and Susano-O-no-Mikoto’s wife Kushiinada-hime-no-Mikoto, saved from sacrifice to Yamato-no-Orochi, are all enshrined here. Due to this legend, it’s thought that married couples most benefit from the shrine’s enmusubi (writing the name of your partner on a plaque and tying it to something in the shrine as a prayer). Other auspicious goods for sale include pink or blue enmusubi-omamori (marriage charms), priced at ¥600, and Nishiki-omamori (brocaded charms) at ¥500 a pop.

Address: 6-10-12 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3583 1935

Matsuchiyama Syouden

Matsuchiyama Syouden enshrines the deity Bishamonten, one of Asakusa’s Seven Lucky Gods. The ‘Syouden’ part of the shrine’s name is actually an abbreviation of ‘Daisyou Kangiten’, which in English refers to Ganesh, the Buddhist deity. Easily recognisable because of his four arms and elephant head, Ganesh is thought to not only represent the form of a man and woman embracing, but also the power to grant fortune in both marriage and fertility. For ¥3,500, visitors receive a ‘Yokuyu-kito’ prayer which is said to be particularly effective.

Address: 7-4-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3874 2030

Nitta Jinja

Nitta Jinja enshrines the once wise and fearless military commander, Yoshioki Nitta. Possessing the power to grant fortune and happiness, this deity is thought to grant fulfillment in love. Inside the shrine’s grounds is stone artwork dedicated to the shrine. Engraved by renowned graphic designer Katsumi Asaba, this reads ‘LOVE Shrine’. It’s said that those who take their picture in front of this engraving will find true happiness. For those who want — or need — all the good luck they can get, Katsumi Asaba has also designed miniature charm versions of his ‘Love Shrine’ engraving to take away at ¥600 each.

Address: 1-21-23 Yaguchi, Ota, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3758 1397

Enoshima Jinja

Looking out over Shonan Sea, Enoshima Jinja consists of three different Shinto shrines dedicated to the three sister goddesses who together make up the deity Enoshima Benzaiten— a deity said to be a god of marriage. Hang the ema (pictorial offerings) offered on the shrine’s sacred tree or ‘musubi-no-ki’, which has two trunks growing from the same root. Also on offer, priced at ¥600, are enmusubi-mamori (marriage charms), which display tiny round images of geta (Japanese clogs) and koban (oval shaped gold coins).

Address: 2-3-8 Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa
Telephone: (0466)22 4020

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By Ai Terada
Translated by Brin Wilson
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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