Jan 6, 2017
You may have heard that Nagasaki is home to the oldest Christian church in Japan, but did you know that it is also home to an equally ancient Shintō shrine called Chinzei Taisha Suwa Shrine?
Chinzei Taisha Suwa Shrine, or simply Suwa Shrine, houses three shrines: Suwa, Morisaki and Sumiyoshi. It is popular among those praying for luck in love, but also used for praying against bad luck and for safety while at sea.
If luck in love is your thing, look for the Otokoishi (male stone), the Onnaishi (female stone) and the Ryōseigattaiishi (the unified stone of the sexes). They’re buried in the path near the first gate of the Suwa Shrine. It is believed that if a man steps on the Onnaishi, or a woman on the Otokoishi, and then prays on the Ryōseigattaiishi, their wishes of love will come true! Try it!
The Suwa Shrine is also known for its interesting lion-dog stone guardian statues. While the usual statues are serious or fierce-looking, the ones at this shrine are ‘cute’ and out-of-the-norm. I know of four special ones, the Stopping Lion-Dog, the Shintō or Buddhist Prayer Lion-dog, the Kappa Lion-dog and the Gomainu Well. Take your time to spot them all!
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