Tokyobling's Blog

Myotogi Shrine – Yamanashi Prefecture

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on January 22, 2014

A while ago I visited one of the most famous “obscure” shrines in Japan, the Myotogi Shrine (夫婦木神社, or the Couple Tree Shrine) in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo. It is located in Mitake-Cho (御岳町), about 45 minutes by bus from Kofu City. Unfortunately I was not very lucky as the shrine was closed on that day and I was unable to see the mythical tree that is venerated inside the shrine. About half a century ago, a 1000 year old chestnut tree was brought down from the mountains. It has a large, peculiarly shaped hollow inside it, with an even more peculiar growth inside the hollow itself. The huge tree stump reminded people of, you know what (you might have guessed it already). In 1958 a shrine was the tree. It is said that couples that enter the tree together and pray will be blessed with both fertility and longevity and the shrine is full of the earnest prayers of couples wishing to have a baby. For 300 yen a priest will open the shrine for you and explain the necessary ceremony to maximize your chances to conceive. Even though I went there alone I would have loved to see it!

Since shintoism, the original religion of Japan, is an animistic religion there are quite a few shrines, ceremonies and rituals associated with human reproduction and all things related to it, although these days it is downplayed quite a bit to not offend western morals.

The area around the shrine is famous as a “power spot”, especially since it is exceptionally rich with rock crystals. The formations of rocky crystals were first discovered about a thousand years ago but it took off as products for the export market in the Edo period when skilled carvers were invited from Kyoto, to develop the local industry. Today there are quite a few souvenir shops selling crystals and stone decorations in Mitake-Cho (the last two photos show one of these shops, and one that had a massive block of gorgeous deep blue sodalite by the entrance.







6 Responses

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  1. Lilith Colbert said, on January 22, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Omg I want that huge point up there!! Simply gorgeous!!!


  2. pk1154 said, on January 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    That crystal near the door is HUGE! E and I would go crazy in that shop, wanting everything.

    Humans have an amazing ability to see faces in unusual places (the term for it is pareidolia). But they also seem to be able to imagine, um, ‘private parts’ in various objects and pictures, too. If there isn’t a special word for that, there ought to be!


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 5:31 am

      Hahaha…. I have spent a lot of time trying to find that word you are looking for but I am sure I would not be able to post it here even if I did…! Well, you know what they say, architects and their long tall buildings…! (^-^;)


  3. sweffling said, on January 22, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Gosh, the size of those crystals! I am assuming that the chestnut tree is dead after being moved at such an age?


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 5:31 am

      I think they moved it after it had died. Patience is a virtue! (^-^)


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