Okazaki Shrine: Kyoto’s Bunny Shrine

Okazaki is a district of Kyoto that is home to many famous shrines and temples such as Heian Jingu and Nanzen-ji. It is also home to a particularly old shrine, Okazaki Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto. Historically associated with fertility and childbirth this shrine gets many visitors today, though not all are hoping for children, instead they are enchanted because it’s filled with statues of bunnies!

Okazaki Shrine

Okazaki Shrine is located in the busy Higashiyama district, but it is usually not very crowded. As Kyoto is extremely popular with tourists these days, it is rare to find shrines in the center of Kyoto where you can take your time and genuinely enjoy the shrine.

Entrance of Okazaki Shrine
It is quite a quaint shrine!

Once you get in, it won’t take you long to find all the bunny statues!!

You are probably wondering why there are so many bunnies in this shrine. Actually, the shrine’s full name, Higashi Tenno Okazaki, is derived from the fact that the shrine sits in the east of Kyoto Imperial Palace, and the east is the direction of the rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac. Also coincidentally, at one time a lot of rabbits lived on the shrine grounds.

Actually, there are several shrines enshrining bunnies in Kansai while there are almost none enshrining dogs and cats. It is interesting why this is so. 

bunny omamori

Rabbits seem to be a universal symbol of fertility, and the same is true here. Many people visit the Okazaki Shrine to pray to have a child. In fact, Emperor Takakura’s wife prayed at Okazaki Shrine for the safe birth of their son.

Honden Susano-o and his wife, Kushinada, and their 8 other children.


For those hoping to conceive children, splash water on the stomach of this black rabbit right near the Honden.

You may be very surprised, but after about one month of splashing this bunny, we became parents. 

We figured out from our experience bunnies are sacred.


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