The “kami” (deity) of “tying the knot”

In the woods, there is a pond called Kagami no Ike (mirror pond). Young ladies are gathering for something at the pond. They are floating a piece of paper on the pond, putting a coin on the paper, praying and chatting. The paper absorbs water under the weight of the coin and goes under the water. They are doing love fortune telling called “Enmusubi uranai (tying the knot fortune telling).” Fortune is told by how quickly the paper starts sinking. It is said that if it starts sinking quickly, it means the knot will be tied soon. If it starts sinking after a long time, it means it will take time for the knot to be tied. If it starts sinking close to you, it means the knot will be tied with someone around you. And if it starts sinking far from you, it means the knot will be tied with someone who lives far from your home. This is Yaegaki Shrine in Izumo region of Shimane prefecture. According to Japanese myth, there was the kami Susanoo no Mikoto, the hero defeated Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed and eight-tailed dragon that was eating girls sacrificed. And he saved the life of Kushinadahime and married her. This shrine is located at the place where the newly-married couple Susanoo no Mikoto and Kushinadahime started living together. Because of this legend, Yaegaki Shrine became one of the most famous shrines for having the power for tying the knot.

In Izumo region where Yaegaki Shrine is, there are many shrines with a long history including Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine, one of the most famous shrines in Japan. In Japan, October is called “Kannazuki” meaning the month of the absence of kami. However, in Izumo region, it is called “Kamiarizuki” meaning the month of the presence of kami. In Japan, it is believed that many kami are living in the sea, mountains, forest, rivers and everywhere in the nature. And it is said there are eighty myriads of kami answering to our prayers. One of the important roles of kami is enmusubi which is to connect people. It is said that all the kami in Japan get together in Izumo in October to have a meeting centering on the kami of Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine Okuninushi no Mikoto on enmusubi in answering to our prayers. October 10th of this year on the lunar calendar (November 5th, 2011), kami in Japan will arrive at Inasa no Hama beach near Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine. At Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine, Kamimukae Sai (welcoming kami festival) will be held followed by Kamiari Sai (presence of kami festival). After the sunset, bonfires are built on Inasa no Hama beach. Shinto priests in their white vestment welcome invisible kami coming from beyond the sea in the dark. The scene will give you indescribable wondrous feeling.

In the first place, kami in Japan have specialized area. Other than the kami for tying the knot; there are kami specialized in various area including kami for successful business, kami for improvement of scholastic ability and kami for protecting people from traffic accident. The home of kami is jinja (shrine). There are many shrines in the city or countryside. All the shrines have a shrine gate and inside the gate is a sacred place. Say your wish after purifying yourself by cleansing your hands and mouth. Shrines in Japan are power spots (spiritual spots) that give you energy. It is not only shrines in the Izumo region, but there are many shrines that the kami of tying the knot is enshrined across Japan. Please visit shrines in search of happiness.

Shrines famous for tying the knot
Izumo region (Shimane)
Yaegaki Shrine
18-min by bus from JR Sanin Main Line “Matsue” Station to “Yaegaki Jinja” , right outside the station
Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine
7-min walk from Ichibata Electric Railway “Izumo Taisha-mae” Station
Sada Shrine
An old shrine also called Izumo Ninomiya meaning the second most important shrine in the region following Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine.
30-min by Ichibata bus (for Etomo) from JR Sanin Main Line “Matsue” Station to “Sada Jinja-mae” and 2-min walk
Imado Shrine
It is known as a birthplace of Maneki Neko (welcoming cat). It is famous for male and female pair of Maneki Neko that are united.
15-min walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Asakusa Line or Tobu Isesaki Line “Asakusa” Station
Kanda Myojin Shrine
Three kami are enshrined in Kanda Myojin Shrine. One of the three kami Onamuchi no Mikoto is an alternate name for Okuninushi no Mikoto of Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine. This kami is famous as the kami of marital harmony and tying the knot.
10-min walk from JR Chuo Line “Ochanomizu” Station
Jishu Shrine
This shrine, a World Heritage site, is located in the Kiyomizu Temple ground. The kami of tying the knot Okuninushi no Mikoto is enshrined.
12-min by City bus from JR “Kyoto” Station to “Kiyomizu-michi” and 10-min walk
Kibune Shrine
It is also called “Koi no Miya (shrine of love)” and the kami of water is enshrined. Water is the essence of life and has the power of purification. The pure water cleanses even the unclean mind. After the purification of mind, energy is regained. It is also known as a power spot.
27-min by Eizan Electric Railway (for Kurama) from “Demachiyanagi” Station to “Kibuneguchi” Station and 5-min by bus
Shimogamo Shrine
Tamayori Hime is enshrined here. According to myth, an arrow came floating on the Kamogawa River when she was cleansing herself and the arrow was transformed into a beautiful male kami. She got married to this kami and had a child. Because of this myth, Shimogamo Shrine is worshiped as the home of the kami tying the knot and raising children since ancient times.
Take City bus at JR “Kyoto” Station and get off at “Shimogamo Jinja-mae” or “Tadasu no Mori”, and 3-min walk
Tsuyunoten Shrine (Ohastutenjin)
The famous Sonezaki Shinju, a masterpiece of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, was inspired by the romance of Ohatsu and Tokube who committed suicide together in the Tsuyunoten Shrine ground in 1703. The shrine is a popular site among couples.
Get off at JR Tokaido Main Line “Osaka” Station, and 10-min walk