Photo By: WikiCommons/ Saigen Jiro
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kobe
Population
5,550,742

Izanagi-jingu Shrine

Rumored to be the first shrine in Japan, this is the only grand shrine in Hyogo prefecture.

By Lilly Seiler

While many shrines and temples exist in Japan, one of the most major historical shrines is hidden on an unassuming island in Hyogo prefecture. The shrine is called Izanagi Shrine and is intimately connected with Japanese mythology.

Roots in Japanese mythology

Photo by: WikiCommons/ Saigen Jiro

According to the Japanese “Kuniumi” myth, the first island in Japan was none other than Awaji. The myth states that the island was formed by a god and goddess duo named Izanagi and Izanami.

The shrine is located on Awaji island and is devoted to the deities. It is the sole grand shrine in Hyogo Prefecture, and the legend is that it is the oldest shrine in all of Japan. If you’re a Japanese history and folklore fan, this shrine deserves a spot at the top of your go-to list.

Exploring the shrine grounds

Photo by: WikiCommons/ Bachstelze

The antiquated atmosphere is prevalent, with most of the architecture being from the Meiji era. The shrine also contains a few noteworthy trees, such as a giant camphor that Emperor Hirohito planted.

The 900-year-old camphor tree with a height of around 30 meters is known as the Meoto-no-okusu. The rare camphor was initially two distinct trees combined into one giant tree as they grew together. This interesting phenomenon gave them the appellation “husband and wife.”

The sacred tree

Photo by: WikiCommons/ talk

The holy tree is home to the spirits of Izanagi and Izanami, known as the marriage deities. To this today, many still worship the tree in the hopes that it will bring them success in their intimate relationships, marriage, and delivery of a healthy child. You can walk up to the tree and press your hands against it to feel the magic firsthand.

In honor of the god and goddess, visitors frequent this shrine all year. Most guests from inside and outside the island come especially during the new year festivities.

How To Get There

Address

By bus

From Kosoku Maiko, board the highway bus to Tsuna-Ichinomiya IC. From there, board the Awajin Awahime Bus 1 clockwise to Izanagi Jingu Mae.

By car

Izanagi Jingu Shrine is about a 7 hour drive from Tokyo station.


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