Motonosumi Shrine (元乃隅神社)
A unique and breathtaking shrine located in Nagato, Yamaguchi. It was built during 1955. It’s popular for people wishing for: Good relationships, love, pregnancy, general luckiness, also for better business sales, fishing, and education. There doesn’t seem to be only one main focus.
But, one of the most interesting part of the Motonosumi Shrine is the fact the offering box is located heads-up on one of the Torii gates that has a red heart and white foxes. They said if you manage to have your coin land into the box, then your wish will come true. I saw many people miss, attempting several times but disappointed to find that their coin refuses to go in. But one lady managed to get it in on her first try!
The shrine consists of 123 repetitive Red Torii gates. Like a dragon is lays out its path from top, taking you to the bottom where you’re face to face with the Sea of Japan. Luckily the day was very warm with blue skies. Some areas can be rocky so it’s best to wear sensible shoes.
The view is absolutely stunning, the striking red vs the bright blue! No wonder it is one of Japan’s top most beautiful shrines. As the shrine faces the sea, the winds are said to be often strong and powerful, you may get to see the waters crash into the rocks creating a fierce splash, sometimes forming a rainbow. It’s called the Ryugu no Shiofuki (龍宮の潮吹). On the day I visited, the sea was as calm as a clam with only some subtle movements, certainly it was no dragon splash!
In Japanese myth and legends, white foxes are fascinating spirits where they are believed to have the ability to morph into a human-form. This idea is taken on-board with many anime and manga series. Usually they are seen to be mischievous but, at the Motonosumi Shrine they are associated with protection from evil and great wisdom.
Getting to the shrine…Public transport is limited. As far as I am aware there are no public buses. The nearest station is Nagato-Furichi (長門古市駅). From there, it’s about a 15 min drive, you can take a taxi or car. According to google, walking will take up to 2 hours one way from the station. I took a Taxi which got me there in no time!