Tuesday, December 20, 2016

# Travel ♪ Izumo in Shimane Prefecture - The Correct Way to Pray at Izumo Taisha Shrine!!

The Best Shrine To Pray For Love In Japan
Izumo Taisha Shrine
The correct way to pray at the shrine

There are many shrines in Japan. People go to different shrines to pray for different things like praying for luck, money, birth, and love etc. The best shrine to pray for love in Japan is in Izumo in Shimane Prefecture!

How to get to Izumo?

By Airplane (JAL)

Tokyo Hanada Airport -> Izumo Airport
About 90 minutes, 5 flights per day

Osaka International Airport → Izumo Airport
About 65 minutes, 6 flights per day

By Train (JR)

Tokyo Station → Izumo City Station
Take Shinkansen Nozomi and get off at Okayama Station
Transfer to limited express Yakumo (approximately 6 hours 30 minutes)
Or to limited express train ride to Sanraizu (about 12 hours)

Osaka Station → Izumo City Station
Take Shinkansen Nozomi and transfer to limited express Yakumo at Okayama Station (about 4 hours)

By Express Bus

WILLER EXPRESS is a good choice for you.
Homepage: http://willerexpress.com/en/

Izumo Taisha Shrine

01. First Torii Gate (鳥居)

There are 4 symbolic Torii Gates in Izumo Taisha. The 23-feet tall Torii Gate is the first one you can see when you going to Izumo Taisha.

From the first torii gate to the fourth one, the distance in between is almost 1000 feet long. So after you getting through the first one, you are already good for praying. Now take a bow and walk through the gate.

Please note that walking on the sides of the road is the correct way since the road in the center are for gods to pass through.

02. Second Torii Gate (鳥居)

The second torii gate is the main entrance of Izumo Taisha. Please bow once again before passing through the gate.

What is interesting is that after passing through the second gate, you can see a downhill road ahead which is very rare to be seen in Japan.

At the end of this road, you can see a line waiting to get in a small shrine called "Harainoyashiro" (祓社).

03. "Harainoyashiro" (祓社)

It is the shrine for purifying ourselves. So remember to say hello and tell the gods your name and address here. After purifying ourselves, we are ready to move on.

A different way to pray at Izumo Taisha

If you are familiar with Japanese culture, you may have already known that bow twice and clap your hands twice is the right way to do it. However, there is a bit difference at Izumo Taisha. Here, you need to bow twice and clap your hands 4 times!!

04. Third Torii Gate (鳥居)

Now do you remember what you need to do before passing through the gate?

Correct! Please remember to bow once first!

There are old pine trees on the sides, so it is also called "Pine Trees Road". It is said that these trees are over 400 years old. Nature is really amazing!

05. Temizuya (手水舎)

We have to wash our both hands and rinse our mouths at the purification fountain to purify ourselves again before getting in the shrine.

How to use the purification fountain

01. Take one of the ladles provided with your right hand, fill it with the water and pour it on your left hand

02. Hold the ladle with your left hand and do the same to your right hand

03. Hold the ladle with your right again, pour the water on your left hand palm, and put it into your mouth and rinse your mouth

04. Hold the ladle with both hands vertically, and let the water left flow down the ladle to wash it

06. Fourth Torii Gate (鳥居)

This torii gate is copper made and it is one of the Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

It is said that to touch the torii gate, it brings good fortune to your wealth!

07. Praying at the main shrine

Don't forget you need to bow twice and clap your hands 4 times at Izumo Taisha! Then let the gods know your name and address too.

There is a big box collecting coins in front of the shrine. Usually people will throw in a 5-yen coin into the box since the pronunciation of 5-yen coin in Japanese is "Go-en" which means "matchmaking"!

You can also write your wishes on the small wooded plate "Ema (絵馬)” and hang it on the fence provided at the shrine.

08. Kaguraden (神楽殿)

Finally we arrive at the main shrine of Izumo Taisha, Kaguraden (神楽殿)!

The eye-catching gigantic rope hanging from the top is the main symbol of Izumo Taisha. Now seeing it in real, we are surprised how amazing it is.

In Japanese, this big rope is called "Shimenawa (注連縄)” and it represents the boundary between the gods' world and the outside world.

This rope is 13 meters long, weight 4.5 tons, and it is the biggest one you can find in Japan!!

The Annual Event - Kannazuki (神無月)

It is said that all gods come to Izumo for the annual meeting. The main topic to discuss is of course how to give the best matchmaking to the humans.

During the Kannazuki (神無月), the shrine where is used as the hotel for the gods are opened to public too. It is a very rare chance to be able to come to this shrine and pray.

Let us share with you some of the pictures we took at the Kannazuki event!

 Other interesting photo spots at Izumo Taisha

Inside the shrine area, you can see lots of rabbit statues everywhere. They all have different poses and faces. Look for your favorite rabbit here!

We found one carrying a heart! That is so cute!!

Izumo Taisha is a must-visit spot if you come to Shimane Prefecture! Now you should know how to pray correctly when you visit this famous shrine next time!!

For other sightseeing spots in Izumo, please refer to our earlier blog here:

# Travel ♪ Izumo in Shimane Prefecture - The Birthplace of Myths and Legends and The City of Love!

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