Japan Travel Guide
The Yamasa Institute
Edited by: Declan Murphy
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A short distance south of Ise is a small town by the sea called Futamigaura. There, tourists are drawn to a pair of rocks in the sea, but close to shore, called the Meoto-iwa, or Wedded Rocks. The two rocks, considered to be male and female, are named Izanagi and Izanami and represent the primal couple in Japanese traditional history. According to legend, it is from this couple did all the Japanese islands arise.
The rocks are also deemed husband and wife, and, as such, are joined in matrimony by sacred ropes called shimenawa, made from braided rice stalks. The ropes, which weigh almost a tonne, are replaced x times a year in a special ceremony. The Meoto-iwa celebrate the union of man and woman and the sanctity of the union between husband and wife in the Shinto belief of the people of Japan.
|Entrance to Meoto-iwa viewing area and Okitama Shrine||Tori gate view of Meoto-iwa|
Many Japanese like to view the rocks at dawn, especially in the summer when the sun rises between the two rocks, though this can be as early as 4:30 am during that period.
Nearby the Meoto-iwa is the Okitama-jinja, also known as the Frog Shrine. It is believed that the ancient goddess of food, known as Miketsu-no-Kami, resides in the shrine and it is there she is worshipped.
There are many small shops lined along the route to the Meoto-iwa but there is also a kilometer long dyke on which to take a pleasant walk with the sea on one side and hotels and ryokan on the other.
|Fountain at Okitama Shrine||Visitors praying at the Okitama Shrine||Seaside shore walk to Meoto-iwa|
How to get there
Futamigaura can be reached from Ise in 10 minutes by taking a Toba or Kashikajima bound JR train to Futaminoura station (Kintetsu Line trains do not go there). From there, exit the station to the left and follow the road directly ahead. It is a 20 minute walk to the Meoto-iwa.
There is also a bus that will take you to Futamigaura directly from Inner Grand Shrine (Naiku) in Ise in 25 minutes.
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