123 red shrine gates, a sight to see! Let’s go to a seaside shrine.

An impressive view of red shrine gates stretching out in a row with the clear blue ocean and lush greenery in the background. Motonosumi Inari Shrine facing the Japan Sea in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, is a spectacular sight of beautiful contrasting colors.

This shrine houses the sacred spirits that were split about 60 years ago from Taikodani Inari Shrine in neighboring Shimane Prefecture. It is said the shrine originated from a story where a God posing as a white fox appeared in the dream of a local fisherman, telling him to enshrine it in the area. The most impressive part of the shrine is the 123 shrine gates that stand in a row stretching over 100m (328ft.) People wish for a good catch of fish, success in business and a safe voyage while walking through the shrine gates that resemble a tunnel. It is considered that the God makes a variety of wishes come true including finding a good match or having a baby.

Shrine offertory box
The box on top of the shrine gate, above your head is the shrine offertory box.

What is surprising is the position of the shrine offertory box. It is usually placed on the ground, but at this shrine, it is placed on the top part of the big shrine gate standing at the entrance of the path to the shrine. You have to aim at the box to throw money in and it is said that if you make it, your wish will come true.

Ryugu no Shiofuki

Also, if you walk toward the ocean past the shrine gates, you can enjoy the scenic beauty called “Ryugu no Shiofuki” (dragon palace geyser). This is a phenomenon where waves break against a hole in the cliff and the compressed air shoots the seawater up into the air. It can reach heights of 30m (98.5ft) during the period from autumn to winter. The sight of seawater shooting upwards resembles a dragon soaring up into the sky and this is where its name came from.

Motonosumi Inari Shrine

Address: Yuyatsuou, Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Access: About 60 min from Asa Station of Sanyo Shinkansen to Nagatoshi Station of Mine Line. 12 min from Nagatoshi Station to Nagato Furuichi Station of JR Sanin Honsen Line (one train per hour). About 10 min by taxi from Nagato Furuichi Station.