Apr. 21, 2020 UPDATE
Nonomiya Shrine- 野宮神社 -
The shrine is in a place that is surrounded by other sightseeing spots so it should be easy to include in your itinerary. They may only speak Japanese, but they have signs in English and even their fortune slips have English on them, so this shrine should be easy to enjoy.
Japanese and a simple site in English
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Story & Recommendation
Nonomiya Shrine in Arashiyama is a place where you can pray for good marriage luck
Nonomiya Shrine is a small shrine in Arashiyama right next to the Bamboo Grove. The shrine is also a starting point for a walking route from Arashiyama to Sagano, and there are also many other sightseeing spots close by, which is why the shrine is always busy with tourists. The main deity enshrined in this shrine is Nonomiya, also known as Amaterasu or the Goddess of the Sun, and it is said that she answers to prayers for health and wisdom. There are also other gods enshrined in the shrine, and they are all said to answer prayers for different things like performing arts, road safety, and other things. However the shrine is most famous as a place where you can pray for marriage luck, pregnancy and smooth delivery, which is why the shrine is especially popular with women. The Saio (an unmarried female relative of the emperor of Japan) used to come to Nonomiya Shrine before her journey to Ise Grand Shrine in order to purify herself. Every year in October there is an event at the shrine that reenacts this procession to Ise Grand Shrine. There are many other historic stories about this shrine, and it also appears in The Tale of Genji written by Murasaki Shikibu in the Heian Period (794-1185). The shrine is not very spacious but there is a lot to see and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove surrounds the shrine making the atmosphere mysterious. This is one of the shrines I hope you will visit if you come to Arashiyama.
One of the most famous features of Nonomiya Shrine is torii gate made of black tree trunks. Usually torii gates are vermilion in color, but this gate is made of unbarked black tree trunks and there are not many like it. This type of torii gate is the oldest type in Japan and they serve as a reminder of the days gone past.
At the inner part of the shrine there is a beautiful moss garden known as a specialty of the shrine. The garden looks almost like it’s covered by a green carped, and together with its luster and the bamboos surrounding it makes one feel relaxed. The garden is small, but well worth a look.
Pet the turtle stone
This big stone in the shrine is called a turtle stone because it, not surprisingly, looks like a turtle. After praying at the altar, while keeping in mind what you prayed for pet this turtle stone and the thing you prayed for will come true within a year, or so it is said.
Write your wishes on an ema wooden plaque
This shrine is famous for marriage luck, so these adorable ema wooden plaques are very popular. There are ema with women wearing Heian period clothing like in The Tale of Genji, and there are also ones shaped like hearts. How about writing your wishes about love on this ema when you visit the shrine?