Japanese Shrine of Love and Fortune – Hikawa Shrine in Kawagoe, Japan

There are around 80,000 shrines in Japan and the majority of them are Shinto shrines. A Shinto shrine is one that houses the spirits and is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects. This shrine can be easily identified by its uniquely designed gate called the torii gate.

One of the most famous Shinto shrines is the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine in the Saitama Prefecture of Japan. It is said to be 1500 years ago. Its 15-meter-high torii gate is one of the tallest gates in Japan. It has a framed symbol with writings from Katsu Kaishu. The main building of the shrine is adorned with elaborate engravings.

This shrine attracts young people in droves since it enshrines the God of married couples and is worshipped as the ‘God of Marriage’. People visit it to pray, not only for a perfect marriage partner but also to strengthen other relationships. And the way they do it is most interesting.

A request is written to kami or deity on a wooden tablet called Ema. It is then hung in the famous Ema Tunnel. This tunnel is one of the highlights of the shrine. You will find thousands of Ema decorating the tunnel. People also hang these tablets to thank kami, if their wish comes true. Walking through this tunnel is an experience in itself!

This is not all. During the summer months, Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine hosts the Shinto ritual called ‘Enmusubi Wind Chimes’. It has a ‘wind chime lane’ that displays over 2,000 wind chimes in the shape of delicate glass bells in dozens of colors.

Another highlight of this shrine is the red snapper fortune slips. The red snappers, made of cloth, are filled in a large container and you are required to fish it with a fishing rod. Each fish contains a fortune slip that predicts the future. The shrine also dishes out 20 limited quantity ‘enmusubi-dama’ each day to early worshippers. This is an amulet that is very famous as a lucky charm for love.

So, if you happen to visit Japan, don’t forget to pay a visit to Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine.


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