While many people visit Izumo Taisha to find their true love, there is another famous love shrine in Shimane. Yaegaki Jinja is just outside of Matsue and is the place where the Kojiki says the first marriage in Japan ever took place. The pond next to the shrine is also rumored to have mystical powers that can reveal when someone will meet their true love.
The Mythology of Yaegaki Jinja
If you remember from our mythology series, we covered the tale of Susano-o and Yamata no Orochi, in which the god Susano-o fights an eight-headed dragon. In the story, he also discovers the princess Kushinada, who he very quickly decides to marry. Yaegaki Jinja is dedicated to both Kushinada and Susano-o. The shrine’s location is pretty special too because it is mentioned several times during the myth of Yamata no Orochi. The Kojiki specifically mentions the area as the place where Susano-o built a fence to protect Kushinada while he was brewing the sake to defeat the dragon. Then, after the battle with the dragon was won, Kushinada was said to have used the pond, called Kagami no Ike [鏡の池], at this shrine to prepare for her marriage to Susano-o. The couple were then married in the place the shrine stands in today, thereby creating the ritual of marriage.
Getting to Yaegaki Jinja
Yaegaki Jinja is located outside of Matsue City, and it is fairly easy to get to. From Matsue Stn., you need to take a bus bound for Yaegaki Jinja [八重垣神社]. Yaegaki Jinja is a pretty popular spot and there is service every thirty minutes from Matsue Stn.
Once you get to off at the Yaegaki bus stop, go across the street near where the bus lets you off and you will see this tree,
Actually, this is not one plant, but two! These are two very, very large camellias, which have combined into one. This is the Meoto-tsubaki, or the husband and wife camellia.
Lucky Birth Stones
As you make your way through Yaegaki Jinja’s torii, you will notice boxes of black stones on the right side. Supposedly, if you take one of these black stones and have you child bite it, they will grow up strong and healthy. You may very well find these in other shrines throughout Japan.
Once you pass through the torii the main shrine is straight in front of you as you enter the shrine as marked by the shimenawa.
Kagami no Ike
Just outside of the main shrines grounds is the star of Yaegaki Jinja is definitely the famed Kagami no Ike. Though it was only used as a reflecting pool by Kushinada, it is now a believed to reveal when a person will meet their future partner.
The small stone path on left-hand side of the shrine will lead you to Kagami no Ike.
If you are hoping for some luck in finding your perfect match, be sure to sure to buy the paper omikuji from the shrine before going to Kagami no Ike. Place a 100 yen coin on the omikuji and place in in the pond. When the paper touches the water, a fortune about the characteristics of your perfect match will appear! How fast the paper sinks represents how soon you will meet you partner. If the paper sinks fast, you will meet your partner very soon. Unfortunately if it sinks slowly you will have to wait. If a salamander walks on top of your omikuji then its extra good luck!
The Painting of Susano-o and Kushinada
Back hear the main shine is a large white storage house. In this building is the oldest surviving mural of Susano-o and Kushinada, finished around the 13th century. You have to pay a separate fee, but it is only a couple hundred yen.
You cannot take pictures of the actual mural, but the shrine uses a picture of the mural on their ema.
Coming next time,
The first capital of Japan, the first poem, and some breathtaking countryside
The adventure continues…