If you’re down on your love luck, why not ask for a little help from the gods? The Tokyo Daijingu Shrine is Tokyo’s branch of Japan’s most renown shrine, Ise-jingu Shrine. Located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, it has become a famous place to go pray for a successful relationship or marriage.
The Rise of Weddings
The reason that Tokyo Daijingu Shrine became a hot spot for prayers of love is due to it being the first shrine to offer Shinto-style weddings. Shinto weddings were first introduced in 1872. Prior to this, the concept of weddings was not widely accepted, and Shinto weddings were only limited to families of Shinto priests. However, the Shinto wedding of Crown Prince (the future Emperor Taisho) and Kujō Sadako (the future Empress Teimei) at the Ise-jingu Shrine brought about a wave of popularity for modern weddings as an establishment. As a result, the following year, Tokyo Daijingu Shrine became the first shrine to offer a modern Shinto-style wedding for the masses.
In order to make your prayers heard by the gods, you can pray and hope your wishes reach the gods’ ears, or leave your wishes in tangible writing so the gods don’t forget.
There are several rules you should adhere to in order to show your respect when visiting a shrine. Before entering, make sure you wash your hands and mouth at the fountain to purify your body and eliminate all the filth accumulated in daily life.
Wash your hands upon entering the shrine as follows:
- Take the ladle and pour the water onto your left hand, and then onto your right hand.
- Rinse your mouth with your left hand. It’s not recommended to swallow the water as it could be contaminated.
- Pour water on your left hand again then put the ladle back.
After that, the procedure for praying is:
- Throw money into the money box. This is usually 5 yen, because the pronunciation of 5 yen is the same as “destiny (ご縁)” in Japanese.
- Ring the bell (if available). The ringing of the bell is thought to get rid of evil, by letting the gods notice your arrival.
- “Two bends, two claps, one bend.” First bow twice, then forcefully clap twice, then make a bow again. Although some shrines do not follow this order, everyone should pay attention to the explanation before worship.
Make a Wish
Year-round, you can buy a wooden plaque called ema (絵馬) to write your wishes on. The ema are displayed in certain areas of the shrine for the gods and other visitors to read at their leisure.
If you happen to visit the shrine near July, you might also be able to catch the Tanabata (七夕) celebration on July 7th. Leading up to Tanabata, people can also write their wishes on colorful strips of paper called tanzaku (短冊). After writing their wishes, people hang their tanzaku on bamboo branches in front of the worship hall to wish for rosy relationships or marriages.
Lucky amulets, called omamori (お守り) sold in the shrine are also indispensable for upping your love luck. It is said that omamori should be bought before praying so that the wish will also be enclosed into the amulet. The “Lily of the Valley” omamori is the most popular in the Tokyo Daijingu Shrine, because it means “happiness” in flower language.
Once your wish is fulfilled, then you should go back to the shrine to return the omamori and express your gratitude to the gods. The omamori is said to be effective for one year, and should be replaced at the beginning of every year.
Below are a list of festivals celebrated at the shrine.
Jan.1 New Year’s Day Festival (Saitan-sai)
Jan.3 Commencement Festival (Genshi-sai)
2nd Monday of Jan. Coming-of-Age Festival (Seijin-sai)
Feb.3 or 4 Festival of the Day before the Beginning of Spring (Setsubun-sai)
Feb.11 National Foundation Day Festival (Kigen-sai)
Feb.17 Festival of Prayer for a Good Harvest (Kinen-sai)
Apr.16 Eve of the Annual Grand Festival (Yoimiya-sai)
Apr.17 Annual Grand Festival (Rei-sai)
Apr.29 Emperor Showa’s Birthday Festival (Showa-sai)
Jun.30 Great Purification (Oharae)
Oct.17 Autumn Grand Festival (Shuki-taisai)
Oct.23(on or around) Tea Festival (Kencha-sai)
Nov.3 Emperor Meiji’s Birthday Festival (Meiji-sai)
Nov.23 Harvest Festival (Niiname-sai)
Dec.23 Emperor’s Birthday Festival (Tencho-sai)
Dec.31 Great Purification (Oharae) and Year-End Ritual (Joya-sai)
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine
Hours: Sunrise to sunset, every day
Address: 2-4-1, Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, 102-0071, Tokyo
Phone Number: 03-3262-3566
Official website: http://www.tokyodaijingu.or.jp/english/
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