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Nagoya’s Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine: Efficacious Matchmaking at the Oda Castle Site

About the Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine

城山八幡宮

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Writer’s Photo

In Suemoritori, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, somewhere along the winding main street, you will find a forest nestled amidst the urban setting. In the forest is Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine.

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Writer’s Photo

The shrine with a large forest in its property was founded at the site on which Suemori Castle was once located. The castle was constructed by Nobuhide Oda in 1547, the father of the famous war lord Nobunaga Oda.

After Nobuhide died, his eldest son Nobuyuki succeeded the castle. He later went into a hostile relation with his own younger brother Nobunaga and lost against him in the Battle of Ino in 1556. Then in 1558, Nobuyuki was killed by Nobunaga, who faked an illness and trapped him into paying him a visit of inquiry at Kiyosu Castle. It is said that it was only a matter of one year before Suemori Castle was abolished after losing its own lord.

The site of Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine, which is about 40 thousand square yards, largely overlaps the site of Suemori Castle. Large parts of the castle structure still remain at this historical tourist spot.

The shrine is known for the efficacy on protection against evils and improvement of luck as well as traffic safety, but most notably for its great mystic power on matchmaking and counted as one of the “three major matchmaking shrines in Nagoya.”

 

Stone Bridge Welcoming Visitors

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Writer’s Photo

Passing through the entrance shrine gate and going up the steep stone steps, you will get to a stone bridge which used to serve as one of the entrance points to the castle site. The stone bridge with vermillion red railings, surrounded by woods, is lit by sunlight filtered through the tree branches and the serene atmosphere here is truly soothing for the soul. Now let’s cross the bridge and go further up the steps.

 

Inari Shrine and Monuments Honoring the Spirits of War Dead

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Once you come to the top of the stairs, you will find a parking space in front of the main shrine hall. At a corner of the parking space stands Toyotama Inari Shrine. The shrine gates installed for this shrine are inscribed with the names of the sponsor companies, which suggest that the gates were built relatively recently. If you go through the arcade created by many vibrant red shrine gates, you will come out to the altar where the god of Inari is enshrined.

The layers of many shrine gates, though humble in scale, are surely impressive and you will gradually be immersed in a sacred atmosphere as you go through the gates.

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Writer’s Photo

On the opposite side of the parking space are two monuments (“Junkokuhi” and “Chukonhi”) and another stand-alone shrine gate (Yasukuni Jinja Yohai Torii), all dedicated to war dead.

 – “Junkokuhi” and “Chukonhi” Monuments – 
These monuments had been located within the ground of Tashiro Elementary School in old Tashiro-mura (mura: local municipal area) since the Meiji Period and were moved to the present location in 1946 for the purpose of maintenance, and commemoration / commendation of war dead (especially those from the old Tashiro-mura).

 – Yasukuni Jinja Yohai Torii – 
This shrine gate was erected in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the transfer of the Chukonhi monument in order for the newly built gate to serve as the remote shrine of Yasukuni Shrine, which is the grand tutelary shrine for all shrines dedicated to war dead.
(According to the guide panel at Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine)

“Yohai” means to make a prayer from a remote place. This is one of the few places in Nagoya where you can offer a prayer to the souls enshrined remotely from here at Yasukuni Shrine through the gate of about the height of an average man as seen in the photo. Many Japanese people offer their prayer to the souls of those who died for Japan.

 

Love and Life Fortune Telling of “Momotori Ishi” Stone

桃取石

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Writer’s Photo

Pass the parking space and you will come across the gate to the main shrine hall, which is fortified with rugged and vividly colored stone stairs. Admiring its overwhelming stateliness as you pass through the gate, you will soon find the main shrine hall right in front of you.

After offering a prayer at the main shrine hall, proceed to the area left of the main shrine hall. There is the first one of several love fortune telling spots within the shrine.

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Writer’s Photo

The red stone in the front of the photo and the blue stone in the back are collectively referred to as “Momotori Ishi.” You can tell your fortune in general if you are here by yourself, or your fortune of love if you are here with someone you care for.

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This is how you can try a love fortune telling here.

The man from a couple stands facing the blue stone and the women the red stone Then both of them shut their eyes, turn around with their eyes shut and walk toward each other. If they successfully meet each other with their eyes closed, it is the sign that their romance will lead to a long and happy relationship.

If you ever visit here alone or with someone you love, we encourage you to give it a try.

 

Love Fortune Telling with the Water Oracle

水みくじ

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There is yet another love fortune telling you can try at the shrine. It’s the water oracle (mizu mikuji).

Beside the temizusya (hand purification) pavilion in the shrine, a small water basin with inlayed rose quartz, the mineral believed to have great efficacy in bringing luck in love and marriage, is installed.
If you float an oracle in the basin filled with sacred water, letters will appear on the surface of the oracle to tell you your fortune.
Even the pattern of the inlayed rose quartz has a meaning beyond mere decoration.
The letters on the oracle will disappear after a while, but you can immerse it in water to make them appear again.
You can tie your oracle slip at the emasha (a roofed area where visitors can hang wooden tablet called “ema”) to pray for a better chance for your wish to be fulfilled.
(This section is based on the official website of Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine.)

The rose quartz is inlayed in the shape of a four-leaf clover, which is the symbol of happiness. It surely is the perfect place to try your love fortune telling and get the best oracle. Whether you are troubled about love or not, make sure to give it a try.

 

Renriboku (Connected Trees): Sacred Matchmaking Tree

連理木

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Writer’s Photo

This is the largest Chinese cork oak tree in Nagoya City, which is 4 meters in trunk circumference and 15 meters in height.

It is considered a sacred tree and has one of its branches connected with a branch of another tree, which is quite a rare example. Such connected trees are referred to as “renbokugi.” Since ancient times, it has been considered to be a place filled with mysterious energy that brings luck and countless men and women have encountered their soul mates under the trees and ended up tying the knot.

Even though it is surrounded by many trees, these connected trees have an outstanding presence of their own and you will easily be convinced about their mysterious power here.

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Are you now interested in visiting the shrine? Shiroyama Hachimangu Shrine not only has a long history but is a sacred place with many mysterious spots associated with love fortune. Whether for the purpose of sightseeing or love fortune telling, this is a shrine that’s definitely worth a visit. If you ever have a chance to visit Nagoya, make sure to extend your trip to the shrine. Information: Map

Related Articles:
How to Fully Enjoy Atsuta Jingu, One of the Three Major Shrines in Japan
Japan’s Least Attractive City!? Tourist Spots and Local Foods of Nagoya!

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