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Known as a sacred place for matchmaking, Izumo Taisha is one of the most famous and important power spots in Japan. The ritual of "Shikinen Sengu" took place in 2013 for the first time in 60 years, and the main hall and other shrine buildings were reconstructed. This shrine has a long history as its establishment was described in Japan's oldest historical document "Kojiki". Over two million people visit Izumo Taisha from all over the world, and it is crowded with worshipers all the time. Not only romantic relationships, but this shrine also grants various good relationships in business etc. Educating yourself on traditions and etiquette before you visit Izumo Taisha will increase your likelihood of a favorable outcome.
- 195, Taishacho Kizukihigashi, Izumo-shi, Shimane
- Contact No.
- 5-min walk from Izumo Taisha-mae Station on Ichibata Railway Line
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Open all day
- Official Website
- Time Required
- Admission fee
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
①Seidamari no O-Tori
The O-tori (big gate) is the most common place to begin the visit. After going through the gate, take a bow in front of it. When you walk on the approach to the shrine, avoid the center as deities are believed to walk through the center of the path.
②Nakano Tori and Pine Approach
After walking down on the pebbled approach, you will see Nakano Tori. Beyond the gate, beautiful pine trees line the approach. Some of the pine trees are said to be over 400 years old. Walking in the center of the approach is restricted to protect the roots of the trees.
③Purifying at the Purification Fountain
Before entering the sacred area, purify yourself at the fountain called Chozuya. The procedure is: ① Take the ladle with your right hand and fill it with water, then rinse your left hand. ②Take the ladle with your left hand and rinse your right hand. ③Fill the ladle with water with your right hand again, pour the water in your left palm and rinse your mouth. ④Pour water over your left hand again and rinse the handle of the ladle (turn the ladle vertically to allow the remaining water run down the handle). This is the procedure to purify yourself.
④The Bronze Gate
The bronze gate is designated as an Important Cultural Property. It looks different from common wooden ones and creates a sacred atmosphere.
④The Holy Horse and Bull
At the west side of the bronze gate, there are statues of a horse and bull. These animals are considered as transportation for the deities. Touching the divine horse is believed to grant pregnancy and a smooth delivery. Touching the divine bull is for an achievement in scholarship.
The worship hall is profound, and the entire building is made of Japanese cypress. Dedication ceremonies and festivals take place in the hall. Originally, the hall was built in the Edo period, but it burned down in 1953. The present building was rebuilt in 1959. This is where you pray.
⑦The Etiquette of Worship at Izumo Taisha
The etiquette of prayer at Izumo Taisha is different from at other shrines. Generally, at other shrines, the procedure is to bow twice, clap your hands twice and then bow once, but at Izumo Taisha, it is to bow twice, clap your hands four times and then bow once. To be more specific: ①Place a coin into the offering box. ②Bow deeply to 90 degrees twice. ③Clap your hands four times and pray. ④Then bow deeply once again. This is the proper etiquette of praying at Izumo Taisha.
⑧Receiving a Prayer Service
Visitors can receive a prayer service at the worship hall. To receive the service, schedule a time that day then pay the fee at the Karihaiden that is located near the worship hall. The service is provided from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. They don't take advance reservations. Why don't you take this rare opportunity at Izumo Taisha. (*The fees are 5,000 yen, 8,000 yen and over 10,000 yen. It is customary that you decide the amount to pay for the service.)
Now that you have learned the manners of praying, let's proceed to the highlight of the visit, Yatsuashimon. Constructed in the Edo period, the gate has impressive carvings, and it is designated as an Important Cultural Property. Since visitors are not allowed to go through the gate, make a prayer in front of it. Of course, it is to "bow twice , clap your hands four times and then bow once."
⑩ Main Hall
In the Yatsuashimon Gate, the main hall of Izumo Taisha emits a strong sense of majesty and super natural power. The fascinating hall is a residence of Okuninushi no Okami, the deity of this shrine. The inside of the gate is not generally open to the public, but they have a special guided tour that allows visitors to pray closer. You will learn more about Izumo Taisha on the tour.
After your prayer, you can buy omikuji (fortunes) at Omamori-sho. Omikuji is a message from the deities. You can either tie it on specified places or take it with you after reading it. They offer amulets such as chopsticks, thread and bells for matchmaking as well as other amulets for other wishes. You will find one that suits your wish.
A magnificent gigantic Shimenawa (sacred plaited rope) will catch your eye at the Kaguraden. Wedding ceremonies and festivals take place in this hall. The large hall measures about 490 square meters. The Shimenawa measures about 4.4 tons in weight, about 13.5 m in length and about 8 m in diameter. A payer at Kaguraden will conclude the visit of Izumo Taisha.
⑬Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo
Outside the Museum
The must-see place along with Izumo Taisha is Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo. This museum introduces the history and culture of Shimane prefecture. The most remarkable display of all is the miniature model of the main hall of Izumo Taisha. It is said that Izumo Taisha was a colossal shrine in the Heian period over 1,000 years ago. The model was recreated in the scale of 1/10 based on the legend and surviving pictures. The main hall at the time is said to have been 48 m high, and the stairs were 109 m long. Outside the Museum
Miniature Model of the Main Hall of Izumo Taisha
⑭Two Famous Dishes (Izumo Soba and Zenzai)
Izumo soba (buckwheat noodles) and zenzai are two representative foods of Izumo. Unlike other soba, Izumo soba is served in a round container called Wariko. Zenzai is a dish of sweet red bean soup served with mochi (rice cake). Izumo is known as the birth place of zenzai. Various stores line the street of Shinmon Dori that connects to the approach to Izumo Taisha. It's fun to stroll on the street after visiting the shrine.Izumo Soba
⑮Deities from All Over Japan Gather at the Kamiarisai Festival
In October, in the lunar calendar, deities from all over Japan gather in Izumo. The month is called "Kannazuki" (the month without deities) in other regions, but in Izumo, it is called "Kamiarizuki" (the month with deities). Each of the shrines in Izumo holds a series of ceremonies such as "Kamimukae Sai" (welcoming the deities), "Kamiari Sai" (presence of the deities) and "Karasade Sai" (Farewell to the deities). The specific dates of the festival vary every year, but it is held in November or December.