Kurumazaki shrine – a place where “Talents” pray for success

I woke up in a bit gloomy mood. I needed to go out for a few hours and take pictures, then I would be happy and in a good mood. 🙂 My husband advised me “Go to Arashiyama!!!!!”

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In fact I had written a list with places I wanted to visit soon, 2 of them in Arashiyama. One was Kurumazaki shrine and the other, even less known, Tsukiyomi shrine. You may wonder why I wanted to go to places that even most Japanese haven’t heard of? Well, after almost 12 years here in Kyoto I had been to all famous places 2 to 10 times, I had taken thousands of pictures and really feel like finding something new, even if not famous. But actually I had found these 2 places had something really interesting! Unlike other shrines, where people write wishes on wooden boards, in Kurumazaki jinja and Tsukiyomi jinja the wishes are written on stones and placed there on a pile. I had found these almost by accident, when the after-New-Year-euphoria of the Japanese to buy fortune telling papers and write wishes embraced me too. I was googling images of these when I saw a photo of a pile of stones with written wishes. And after a few more key words search a got the names of the two shrines.

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So first to go to was Kurumazaki shrine. To reach Kurumazaki shrine it is best to take the little train Randen (for me the best connection is Uzumasa Tenjin Gawa station – the last of Tozai Subway line) – just pop out from the exit and cross the street. I got off at Kurumazaki Jinja Station and it is just where the North entrance to the shrine’s grounds are. It wasn’t long ago when I was there, with a dear friend, but just passing in the dark and on my way back I ran as I heard the train approaching so didn’t want to miss it. But yesterday it was time to take pictures.

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Kurumazaki shrine is comprised by a main and many other little shrines. There are many vermilion color torii and boards with names written on them and most of them are of people somehow related to arts and performances. Here is the place where the Japanese talents – singers, dancers, etc., also artists, actors and other entertainers come to pray for success in their career. However it is not limited to them. There were many people yesterday praying for health and good luck in the new year and eager to see what luck 2017 has prepared for them. Also this shrine is famous for car blessing ceremonies. I observed a shinto priest blessing a brand new high end Lexus – stopping at each side of the car and praying, waving oonusa (a wooden wand with zig-zag folded paper), and finally purifying the interior.

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I also decided to buy omikuji – paper on which you can see if you got a good luck (could be big, normal or small) or bad luck (also has some gradation). In a box I dropped some coins (this shrine doesn’t specify the amount but asks people to put what their heart feels like) and then from a hexagon-shaped box with wooden sticks in it, after some shaking, I drew a stick with number 1. It was the luckiest draw! Great good luck. I miko girl (a kind of shinto maiden) approached me and explained in simple English that I was the luckiest and everything this year will be OK! 🙂 I kept the omikuji paper in my wallet. This is what you are supposed to do if you like it. In case of not sufficient luck or bad luck it is common to bind the paper on a wire on a special panel or on a branch of a tree or bush in the shrine, where rain will wash away the bad luck from it.

Then I saw a pile with wishing stones. And then one more. The stones came in different sizes, shapes, colors, messages were written on them with a black permanent marker. As much as I could understand one could buy a stone of their choice for 500yen, but I suppose some people brought their stones too, collected somewhere else.

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I left the shrine with a Great good luck fortune, nice memories and good pictures. 🙂

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I left the shrine with a Great good luck fortune, nice memories and good pictures. 🙂

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