Kyoto is famous for it’s temples and shrines sadly some of them get overlooked by tourist rushing to see the biggest and most famous sight seeing spots. One of these places is Okazaki shrine located in eastern central Kyoto. The rabbit is considered a helper spirit of the Okazaki Shrine. You will find figurines and sculptures of bunny rabbits all over the shrine grounds. If you wish to get married, have a baby/have an easy delivery or perhaps you wish to find love this is a good place to leave your prayers on beautifully adorned ema plaques.
The shrine was build as one of four sanctuaries with the purpose of protecting Kyoto as the new capital of Japan back in 794 AD. In 869 AD after a fire damage the main shrine building has been rebuild and can be seen to this day. The rabbit was chosen as the helper spirit of the shrine as many of these animals can be found in the hills surrounding the shrine. The Okazaki shrine is also a popular place for traditional Shinto weddings.
I made it a point to visit this small shrine while in Kyoto and I was not disappointed. I’d recommend visiting the shrine to everyone interested in beautiful places void of tourists and a little off the beaten path. On your way to Okazaki Shrine make sure to visit small Inari shrine, Otatsuinari Shrine (御辰稲荷神社.) Like most Inari shrines it’s marked by Kitsune statues and masks. I will write more about it in upcoming posts.
You can purchase the little rabbit figurine at the shrine. Each rabbit contains an O-mikuji fortune. The fortune predicts the chances of your hopes coming true. The fortune can range from outstanding to very bad. If your fortune happens to be bad you can leave the paper and the figurine at the shrine and the bad prediction can be averted. Leaving the good fortune at the shrine can help make it come true.
You can also purchase ema wishing plaques and to take home or write your prayer on and leave it at the shrine. At Okazaki shrine most people write wishes and prayers concerning births and babies.
Here are mine:
Shrine Website: http://www.okazakijinja.jp/
Google Maps: location
Address: Japan, 〒606-8332
Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Sakyō-ku,
Phone Number: +81 75-771-1963
(all photos belong and were taken by me, pixel art from: pixel-soup)