If you and your sweetheart are planning a trip to Japan, don’t miss out on one of the country’s best kept secrets for couples – love shrines in Japan! As someone who worked and lived in Tokyo for a year, I can’t count the number of divine matchmaking tales I’ve heard! I mean, it’s not just about going to the nearest shrine grounds to pray for “The One.” It’s actually about consciously visiting these power spots to seek good fortune for relationships.
In this post, I’m going to share my top 5 tried-and-true love shrines across Japan that I wholeheartedly recommend all couples visit on their trip! From centuries-old sites with lore of blessing marriages to unique rituals like writing down date ideas or wishes to the gods on ema wood plaques, these are the most romantically-charged power spots I’ve come across in my years here.
To have your heart going aflutter, I’ll also share with you some handy Japanese phrases to use with the locals or to add to your prayers. Ready? Let’s begin!
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Top Love Shrines In Japan
The Japanese people have a beautiful concept called “kizuna” (絆) that refers to the deep bonds of trust and support that connect us to other people. You know, it’s about that enduring relationships and connections between loved ones, friends, and even soulmates.
After working with Japanese colleagues, I quickly learned that they highly revere these bonds of affection and togetherness. In fact, they believe humans should strive to keep their kizuna strong and tightly knit with those who matter most.
So, honestly, it’s no surprise why they make time to visit shrines to pray to fortify the Kizuna between romantic partners. They call this “enmusubi” (縁結び) – asking the gods to tie their bond tightly together through destiny and fate. Surprisingly, they also have several spots dedicated to matchmaking and fostering relationships – and this is what we’ll cover below!
Yasaka Shrine – Gion, Kyoto
Nestled amongst the quaint teahouses of Gion lies one of my personal favorite power spots for couples in Kyoto, the tranquil Yasaka Shrine. And with a history stretching back over 1,300 years, this place certainly has had plenty of practice sharing its magic! I mean, don’t blame me if you see couples lining up to pay respects to Okuninushi, the Shinto deity of matchmaking enshrined here.
Legend says that once a year, Okuninushi holds heavenly gatherings to arrange the meetings of mortal soulmates! The shrine even sells cute little rabbit omamori charms based on the folklore of Okuninushi appearing with a white bunny to bless a village with matrimonial luck. So grab one with your sweetheart to carry fond memories of your visit.
Imado Shrine – Asakusa, Tokyo
If you’re looking to bless your romance with a long and happy marriage like the legendary couple Izanagi and Izanami, then Imado Shrine in Tokyo’s Asakusa district is the place for you lovebirds!
This tranquil spot in Taito ward is actually dedicated to the divine pair (Izanagi and Izanami), who are symbols of a fantastic, loving relationship in Japanese myth. It’s said that praying to them at Imado invokes their martial bliss into your own bond!
In fact, the shrine is such a popular sacred site for wedding blessings that you’ll likely see a bride and groom’s entourage when you visit. Oh and if you do visit, you’ll also notice the main hall brimming with lucky maneki-neko figurines too! I guess their waving paws are calling forth fortune for these harmonious unions!
Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine – Izumo, Shimane
If you really want to go all-in manifesting relationship magic or mending a broken heart, there’s no more powerful place devoted to bonds of love and destiny than Izumo Grand Shrine. Every autumn, it even hosts Japan’s largest matchmaking festival!
But what makes this sprawling Shimane sanctuary near the scenic Izumo coastline extra special is its broad blessings. Beyond romance, these ancient grounds are said to fortify all meaningful bonds – be it with family, friends, or partners.
The Izumo gods are like the ultimate wingmen facilitating not just enmusubi but bringing good favor to all kizuna connections! So this is the prime pitstop for renewing loyalty in business, carrying childhood memories, reconciling lost friendships – you name it!
And should you be nursing heartbreak or existential crisis over failed relationships, the cedar-lined halls here are revered for their restorative energy. Many come to realign perspectives, make peace with the past, and start fresh.
Hakone Shrine – Hakone, Kanagawa
Now, if you’re traveling to Hakone with your sweetie, you simply must make a stop at the scenic Hakone Shrine hidden away in the forest slopes surrounding the glittering Ashinoko. Don’t let its modest size amongst the towering cedars fool you – this power spot packs a mystical punch when it comes to romance!
The draw here is definitely the shrine’s dragon god fountain, said to be the dwelling place of Ryujin – an ancient water deity known for controlling tides of good fortune and love. And providing blessings runs in the family – his daughters are actually muses of the arts residing nearby too!
As the tale goes, if you drink the sacred spring water flowing next to the small red torii immersed in Lake Ashinoko, you’ll be infused with the dragon god’s magical matchmaking energy! Couldn’t be a more romantic place to sip than the tranquil shores with your sweetie.
Tokyo Daijingu Shrine – Chiyoda, Tokyo
Bright and early on the weekend, you’ll find Tokyo newlyweds-to-be flocking to the Tokyo Daijingu, rain or shine. As one of the city’s most venerated shrines, it offers that quintessential mix of tranquility to quiet nerves along with divine blessings especially attuned to romance that no chapel can compete with!
Originally built in 1880 so locals could worship Japan’s beloved deities without traveling outside the capital, this sprawling forest sanctuary also claims fame for pioneering traditional Shinto-style weddings. How fitting that spiritual space honoring the nation’s guardian goddess, Amaterasu, would cement bonds for modern couples too!
Matsunoo Taisha Shrine – Arashiyama, Kyoto
Nestled in the quiet bamboo groves of Sagano, Matsunoo Taisha is one of Kyoto’s hidden gems for couples seeking marital bliss. And with over 1,300 years of matchmaking under its belt, who better to receive blessings from?
Here you’ll find a truly special sight – two towering pine trees twisted into one, their trunks fused together over 350 years of growth into a single sturdy base. This joining of two into one is incredibly symbolic of relationships here. The conjoined pines marked the “enmusubi” spot where couples pray in hopes of fortifying their own union through thick and thin!
How To Invoke Love Blessings In Japanese
When visiting a love shrine, there’s an art to crafting prayers that call romance and affection into your life. Follow these tips to ask the gods for enmusubi matchmaking magic in Japanese:
- Purify Yourself – Before approaching the shrine, cleanse your hands and heart at the temizuya fountain to wash away impurities.
- Bow Respectfully – Bow twice before the main hall to show sincerity then your prayer will be well-received.
- Speak Clearly and Politely – State what you desire concisely using formal language. Flowery words won’t earn extra credit!
- Leave a Symbolic Offering – Toss coins into the collection box to seal your appeal to the gods. 5 yen is customary for common wishes.
Ready to pray? Here’s the standard sincere opening:
“祈と祈と” (kito kito)
Seeking a relationship:
“縁愛の縁結びをお願い致します” (en ai no enmusubi wo onegai itashimasu)
Specifying a person:
“(Name)と私の縁結びを” ((Name) to watashi no enmusubi wo)
Think that covers the basics for invoking romantic blessings! Now just earnestly repeat as needed until you feel the magic taking hold. The gods are listening!
Ready For A Leveled-Up Love Life?
And there you have it, my trusty seekers of love – the inside scoop on Japan’s top matchmaking shrines from your on-the-ground gaijin expert!
I hope with this quick guide in your pocket, you feel equipped to connect with the spiritual side of enmusubi during your travels and return home with a little magic summoned for your relationship’s future.
Just remember, the Japanese gods appreciate tenacity and commitment when it comes to affairs of the heart! So be sure to put in the time repeating those blessing rituals I taught you. Fortune favors the bold and persistent!
Now if you find yourself wanting to dive deeper into love-centric vocabulary for impressing dates once you arrive or are bitten by the travel bug for Japan, might I suggest checking out the Ling app?
It’s a killer resource I use myself as an expat here for picking up flirting phrases, directions to popular couples spots, ordering at restaurants, and tons more to bond over your shared adventure together!
The lessons feature conversational audio from native speakers too, so you’ll be wowing your significant other with accent-perfect Japanese in no time! Give it a try now!