Izumo Taisha and a spiritual tour of efficacious love prayers
Somebody once said that "For love, come to Izumo Taisha and pray sincerely." Could it be true? Maybe a spiritual trip to Shimane would help me find out the answer.
Dubbed as the land of the gods, Izumo provides a nondescript atmosphere of solemnity and majesty.
Located in the centre of the area, the Grand Shrine of Izumo is the heart of Japan, a destination for many Shinto devotees.
As you may not know:
This is either one of the oldest shrines of Japan or the residence of Ookuninushi - the god of Earth - father of Shinto gods. The children of Ookuninushi are the deities who govern localities across the country. Every October, all of them will gather at Izumo Taisha for a meeting.
Therefore, only in Shimane - the reunion destination - October is called "the month when the gods are present" while in the rest of Japan, it is called "the month without gods".
As for the reason I travelled a thousand miles to Shimane, it was probably the well-known efficacy of prayers for love and relationship at this shrine.
I was extremely excited to know if this place would be truly as sacred as it was said, and also to admire another long-standing landmark of Japan. There were many ways to get there, but for convenience, my friends and I rented a bus and arrived at 4 pm.
It is believed that the gods gather at Izumo Taisha to discuss major issues of human such as fates and marriages, then this shrine is considered to be a place that governs love and happiness.
At the first shrine, the giant straw that weighed 4.5 tons immediately attracted my attention. This was the famous shimenawa that could only be found in Taisha, alluding to luck and happiness.
Coming here as a visitor, I was excited yet nervous at the same time. I had already held the 5 円 coin to pray. As for what I prayed for, you might have already guessed it.
The way to pray here is not the same as anywhere else: bow twice, clap 4 times and bow once more time.
It is said that out of 4 claps, two of them are for yourself and another two are for someone you love. After that, people often throw a 5 円 up into the shimenawa and if the coin stuck to the straw rope, their wishes will come true.
I threw the 5 円 on the straw rope but in the end, I couldn't see it anymore, perhaps it already stuck?
After the ceremony, we went around the back of the shrine and came to the main shrine area. The architecture here was quite majestic, ancient and fully associated with earliest legends. Around the main hall were the shrines for the deities to gather and take a rest annually, which were both rustic and splendid.
One of the most beautiful shrines that brought the most interesting stories I had ever known.
Our tour guide had explained to us why these rabbit statues could be found everywhere.
An ancient story told that on the way to propose to the beautiful Princess Yakami in Inaba prefecture, Ookuninushi had stopped to help the rabbits who were getting eaten by the sharks. Although he was late, fortunately, his good-heart was still reciprocated and he was able to marry the princess. Then whenever Ookuninushi’s mentioned, this tale will be reminded under the name "The myth of the Hare of Inaba".
What a happy ending, right?
You don’t have to worry about the unexpected Omikuji as you can hang them back at the temple. As for me, I drew the "Bad fortune" omikuji and also left it there. When I drew this plaque, I was quite restless about whether this would have any effect on my visit to a place of worship?
But as I said, don't worry.
Izumo Taisha's efficacy is indeed not an unfounded rumour. This is also the reason why every year so many young people who have not found their fates come here to pray. If not, the architecture and stories of Izumo Taisha are also worth exploring. If you have a chance, don’t hesitate to pay this shrine a visit.
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