So you’re single and you hate it. Or you’re in a relationship and you’re looking to tie the knot soon. Or you’re perfectly happy in the state you’re in, but you’re not going to say no if things change for the better.
No matter what country you’re in, people want to fall in love, or get over their exes, or marry an old rich man to acquire a small fortune. It’s human nature and the way of the world. It’s just that in Japan (and other East Asian countries as well) there are temples and shrines throughout the country that many people believe to have powers aiding those in need of a certain kind of luck: the kind that will help their romantic lives. Need help? You can go and pray at these places, or buy an omamori, and maybe something good will happen.
If that’s not really your thing, don’t worry: all of the shrines and temples listed here are magnificent in and of themselves. They’re real places of divine worship, not kitschy places advertising love fortunes by the minute.
1. Daijingu (Iidabashi)_
Tokyo Daijingu is the city’s most powerful shrine for matters of the heart. Actually, it’s one of the most powerful shrines for just about anything.
That includes business luck, so visitors can combine business and pleasure in one convenient stopover.
Daijingu is affiliated with the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture, one of Shinto’s holiest sites for more than 1,300 years.
The Meiji Emperor ordered the creation of Daijingu in 1880 so more people could receive the legendary blessings of Ise without the impossible expense of the long journey south to Mie.
At the actual Ise Shrine, visitors can barely approach the holy building. Here, anyone can walk in and wander around.
Japanese — especially young women — come to Daijingu for many reasons but especially to pray for a new love or to save a troubled one.
Those to decide to go to Daijingu for hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the New Year) have to wait about 3-4 hours just to approach the temple grounds. Why make “get married” a mere New Year’s resolution when you can go to the shrine and pray about it? Among the omamori charms you can purchase are those shaped like lockets and two strings tied together – a symbol of marriage.
2. Imado-jinja (Asakusa)
Imado Jinja enshrines god and goddess, Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto. Imado is also the birthplace of Maneki Neko (porcelain cats with one paw raised to beckon good fortune). Priced at ¥3,000, this shrine’s uniqueImado-Yaki Maneki Neko are said to beckon good fortune for couples as the neko come as a male and female fused at the hip. Also sold are enmusubi-omamori (marriage charms) that have an embroidered image of a Maneki Neko in various colours (often updated) for the measly price of ¥800.
Imado-jinja is located at the far end of Asakusa, so you’ll have to walk a bit to get there from the station. Aside from this place being a shrine for those wishing to get married, it’s also HEAVEN for those who love cats, especially maneki neko. In fact, it’s kind of terrifying. See below:
3. Kanda Myoujin (Kanda/Akihabara)
This shrine is the chief guardian god of Edo and was established in the second year of Tempo according to the old Japanese calendar that corresponds to 730 C.E on the modern calendar. People are very proud of Kanda Myojin Shrine’s very long history over 1270 years. Kanda Myojin Shrine is very popular with the local people because they feel that if they worship here it will give them: happy family life, success and prosperity in their businesses, and will help them to find a well-matched marriage partner.
Kanda Myoujin is also famous for having charms that protect those who work in I.T. data, as the Akihabara district is closeby. This also makes it the “otaku shrine,” and if you go, you’ll be able to see ema (wooden blocks for wishes) decorated with anime characters.
4. Izumo Taisha Tokyo Bunshi (Roppongi)
Located next to Roppongi Hills, Izumo Taisha Tokyo Bunshi shares its deity, Okuninushi-no-Okami, with the Grand Shrine of Izumo. As Tokyo’s only shrine with this powerful connection, Izumo Taisha is considered convenient and popular with people wishing to find fulfillment in love. Surrounded by buildings, the shrine stands neatly tucked away in a quiet residential area and is easy to miss. A wide variety of charms and various goods are available including enmusubi-ema (marriage votive pictorial offerings), enmusubi-no-ito(marriage string charms) and enmusubi-mamori (marriage charms) for ¥1,000.
This is said to be one of the most famous shrines in Japan, and hundreds of people go on the weekends. If you’re planning to check it out, perhaps try going during the day on a weekday.
5. Enoshima-jinja (Enoshima)
Situated in Enoshima Island, the shrine has been popular from long ago as a place for casual enjoyment of scenic beauty with relatively easy access from Tokyo.
Three shrines, Hetsunomiya, Nakatsunomiya and Okutsunomiya, in the island are collectively called Enoshima Jinja. It is said that they originate from a shrine built in a cave in the south of Enoshima in 552.
These three shrines are for three sister goddesses who are collectively known as Enoshima Benzaiten, a god of marriage.