Photo By: Elisabeth Llopis @kawaiiaichi
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Nagoya
Population
7,043,235

Momotaro Shrine

A visit to this quirky shrine based on the famous Japanese children’s tale will leave you feeling peachy.

Inuyama City in central Aichi Prefecture may be better known for its castle and fireworks festival along the Kiso River, but it is also home to the wonderfully bizarre Momotaro Shrine. Momotaro, known across Japan as the boy born from a peach, is the main character of a beloved tale of bravery and friendship in which he defeats a gang of ogres along with his three animal companions.

The world of peach boy

Momotaro Shrine in Aichi

Photo by: Anna Modugno Have you ever seen a peach-shaped torii gate!?

At the entrance stands a statue of Momotaro stark naked and bursting out of a peach which makes for a perfect photo op before entering the shrine. Climb up the stone steps to reach the main shrine, where Momotaro’s brightly colored friends (and enemies) can be seen all around.

In the story, Momotaro is found by an elderly couple when they see a giant peach floating down the river. When they open the peach and a boy comes out, they adopt him. You’ll find a statue of the old woman from the story standing beside a washing stone which the shrine claims to have actually belonged to the old woman herself. Two footprints can be seen in the stone and they are attributed to the old woman’s decades of semi-fanatical laundering. Talk about dedication.

At the entrance stands a statue of Momotaro stark naked and bursting out of a peach which makes for a perfect photo op.

Looming before the shrine is an oddity not to be found anywhere else in the world—a giant peach-shaped torii gate. Pass through the gate and leave a coin or two in the dog’s outstretched palms before paying your respects at the shrine. People typically visit the Momotaro Shrine to pray for the protection and wellbeing of children, and there is a large Momotaro festival held every year on Children’s Day (May 5).

Momotaro museum and park

Momotaro Shrine in Aichi

Photo by: Anna Modugno The gang’s all here.

For a small entrance fee, there is also a Momotaro museum with even more statues and scenes depicting the band of heroes. A self-proclaimed “friendly ogre” bids visitors to climb on his back, and the museum features various artifacts relating to the legend of Momotaro and ogre lore.

The fun doesn’t stop after exiting the shrine, though. Standing directly opposite of the entrance is Momotaro park, where you can do some shopping and even try your hand at making shinoyaki, a form of pottery unique to the Chubu region of Japan.

Momotaro Shrine in Aichi

Photo by: Brent Alvarez That’s a big peach you’ve got there old man.

Of course, no shrine to Momotaro would be complete without a place to purchase kibidango, the small dumplings that Momotaro shared with his animal companions to gain their trust. Here you’ll find a souvenir shop that has been peddling these little treats for 80 years.

Momotaro Shrine’s location right in front of the Kiso River makes it a popular spot for nature-lovers. You can pitch a tent and stay the night in the surrounding area if you don’t want to leave yet. Just watch out for ogres.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

Momotaro museum

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry: ¥200 for adults and ¥100 for children under 14. The pottery experience costs ¥500 but requires a reservation beforehand.

 

How To Get There

Address

Ōhira-853 Kurisu, Inuyama, Aichi 484-0002, Japan

By train

From Nagoya, take the limited express train bound for Shin-Unuma at Meitetsu Nagoya Station. Get off at Inuyamayuen Station and either take a taxi or walk for 40 minutes to reach the Momotaro Shrine.

Where To Stay

Inuyama International Youth Hostel
  • Oaza-Tsugao-Aza Himuro 162-1 Inuyama-Shi, Aichi 484-0091
  • 7.3/10
  • 1.4 km
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Kakamigahara Dolphin Resort (Adult Only)
  • Unuma Nishimachi 1-652 Kakamigahara-Shi, Gifu 509-0132
  • 3.8/10
  • 2.7 km
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Meitetsu Hotel Inuyama
  • Inuyamakitakoken 107-1 Inuyama-Shi, Aichi 484-0082
  • 8.3/10
  • 2.9 km
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Inuyama Miyako Hotel
  • Oaza Inuyama Aza Higashiyozaka 35 Inuyama-Shi, Aichi 484-0081
  • 6.5/10
  • 3.1 km
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