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Boost your fortunes with a New Year’s visit to these three “power spot” shrines

The Takachiho area is said to have been home to over 500 shrines in the past.

Here, we’ll be introducing three of these shrines, specifically as part of a three-shrine course that is sure to bring good fortune into your life.

Visiting these shrines on New Year’s Day will help you start your year off on the right foot. Next year, come boost your fortunes in one of the greatest “power spots” in Japan, Takachiho, in a way that will last you year-round.

 

Tradition of doing the “Three-Shrine Tour” for the New Year’s Day shrine visit

The “three-shrine tour” is a tradition, practiced mainly in the Kyushu region, in which people visit three shrines (instead of just one) on New Year’s Day or within the first three days of the year.

There are no defined rules on which shrines to visit during this time, meaning people are free to visit whatever shrines they like. We recommend choosing shrines that offer good fortune in the areas of life where you feel you need a boost.

The visits themselves are practiced according to the rules of the specific shrines you visit. But as long as you remember the basic etiquette of visiting a shrine—bow twice, clap twice, bow once—you’ll be fine.

 

Takachiho Shrine, the golden standard of the three-shrine tour

Takachiho Shrine is located in central Takachiho Town. This shrine is a favorite both amongst locals and those from outside the prefecture. Part of that is because the shrine is easily accessible, as it faces the street and has a large parking lot.

The deities of the shrine are Ninigi-no-Mikoto and other gods that the imperial family is said to be the descended from. It was founded during the reign of the 11th Emperor Suinin, and is included in the Rikkokushi (six national historical books of Japan).

Shigetada Hatakeyama, who experienced a pop culture resurgence due to this year’s NHK taiga drama, 13 Lords of the Shogun, is said to have visited the shrine on behalf of Minamoto-no-Yoritomo.

The blessings of the Takachiho Shrine are said to be in the fulfillment of various wishes: fateful events like marriage, marital harmony, the warding off of evil spirits and so on. This makes it perfect for starting off the year. The “fateful events” blessing is particularly famous amongst visitors. This includes not just events in your romantic life but in your work life and other areas as well.

★Click here for directions to Takachiho Shrine

 

The world of myths, right in front of you – Ama-no-Iwato Shrine

The blessing of the Ama-no-Iwato Shrine is the fulfillment of various wishes. It enshrines the Ama-no-Iwato Cave, where Amaterasu-Omikami (goddess of the sun) is said to have hidden herself. All this is described in the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), the Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan), and other literature. The shrine is comprised of the West Main Shrine and the East Main Shrine, located on the opposite bank of the Iwato River.

 

West Main Shrine, Ama-no-Iwato Shrine

Begin your visit to the Ama-no-Iwato Shrine at the West Main Shrine. This area has a large parking lot, and is also home to the shrine office and receiving site.

Ama-no-Iwato Cave, the object of worship, is enshrined behind the Worship Hall. Ama-no-Iwato Cave is not available to be seen by the public. However, from the Ama-no-Iwato worship site there is a tour allowing you to see the area under the guidance of a Shinto priest.

★Click here for the Ama-no-Iwato Shrine homepage

 

Ama-no-Yasukawara is located about a 10-minute walk away from the West Main Shrine. It is famous as an extraordinarily spiritual “power spot,” the place where countless ancient gods gathered.

The Kagura Hall in the West Main Shrine area is a place of worship for the Ama-no-Yasukawara. If you are unable to do the walk to Ama-no-Yasukawara, a visit to the worship site within the shrine area is a great way to bring good fortune into your life.

★Click here for directions to Ama-no-Yasukawara

 

East Main Shrine, Ama-no-Iwato Shrine

The East Main Shrine sees fewer worshippers than the West Main Shrine. However, in actuality, the East Main Shrine is a must-visit location, as it enshrines the first place where Amaterasu-Omikami lived in after leaving Ama-no-Iwato Cave.

Pass through the torii gate and you will come across a statue of Ame-no-Uzume (goddess of entertainment), slowly rotating on its base. It is said that Ame-no-Uzume is the model for the main character of the hit film Suzume.

The Worship Hall of the East Main Shrine stands quietly at the top of a stone staircase surrounded by trees. The place has a dignified, comfortable atmosphere. Take a bit of a walk behind the Worship Hall, and you will find sacred water bubbling forth from the roots of a sacred tree. If you want you can take some of the water home with you.

★Click here for directions to Ama-no-Iwato, East Main Shrine

 

Where the God’s descended to earth, Kushifuru Shrine

Kushifuru Shrine is dedicated to Kushifuru Peak, which is said to have been where a god descended to earth from the heavens. This is an excellent shrine on New Year’s Day, as it is a place where you can renew your spirit and start afresh.

In the past, the object of worship had been Kushifuru Peak itself, where the Tenson Korin (god’s descent to earth) is said to have taken place, which meant there was no shrine. The shrine was eventually built by those who felt strongly about raising a shrine. Enshrined here are deities associated with the Tenson Korin.

Pray for peace in the new year in the place that welcomed the descent of a god. This makes Kushifuru Shrine the perfect shrine for a New Year’s visit, right? The blessings of the shrine is said to be in the fulfillment of various wishes, song and in martial arts.

If you have time, we also recommend you spend about an hour walking around the mythological and historical sites in the area.

★Click here for directions to Kushifuru Shrine

 

Conclusion

These are our recommended shrines for the New Year’s “three-shrine round” in Takachiho. What do you think?

Of course, Takachiho is home to many other shrines. But these are the three we felt are the most accessible and most suited for a New Year’s visit.

We hope you enjoy your visits to these shrines (or perhaps others), showing your gratitude for the past year and your hopes for the new year.

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