Photo: Justin W. Dart

Momoyama Park

A park for all stages of life; Fertility to Family

By Justin Dart    - 3 min read

Fertility shrines can be found all over Japan. Though not super famous, Meiotoiwa fertility shrine sits among children's playground equipment and next to the Children's Science Museum making Momoyama Park a place for those hoping for kids and those with kids to mingle.

I had seen photos of the park but hadn't been there. In fact I had been past it dozens of times without realizing it.

I parked in the free parking area and walked through "The Star Tunnel" which lit up with the 12 constellations of the zodiac and a drippy space-aged tune.

Exiting, I felt I had been transported to a new location. I walked up a rise and was pleasantly surprised by how green and closed it was from the road and residential area. Most parks I have been to are open with little shade from a hot day. Probably the reason I had missed Momoyama park was because it is surrounded by trees giving visitors shade.

At the top of the rise was a whimsical looking clock and very nice bathrooms. To the right was a path going to the entrance of the Children's Science Museum. Actually everything in the park is to the right of the tunnel and since Momoyama park is compact, everything is only a few meters away.

I walked down the path running parallel to the Science Museum. There is a wicked roller slide (tried it myself), that runs from next to the Science Museum entrance to main path. When you get off the slide, run straight and you are at the small playground with ground cover made from recycled tires. All around are spaces for picnics.

Within 30 seconds of the slide I arrived at the main feature. Momoyama park has a shrine dedicated to fertility which is represented by two rock formations known as Meiotoiwa. When you stand at the shrine, which is right behind the playground, turn and face the rocks. To the right is phallic shaped one while the other is supposed to represent the female genitalia. These are natural formations which have been worshiped by young maidens and couples for centuries.

I was told that during the Edo period women, who stopped at Nakatsugawa Juku on the Nakasendo, on their way to be matched would go to this shrine to pray that they will be able to produce children. There are even woodblock prints of the rocks from this period at the Nakasendo Museum and at the marker of the Nakasendo in Nakatsugawa.

Even today young couples visit the park simply to pray for children. On weekends you can find young couples praying, children playing and grandparents watching grandchildren; those that want, those that are raising and those who have raised.

Just down below the rocks is a bridge flowing over a nice stream. This is the traditional entrance to the shrine. So if you visit for the purpose of praying for fertility, it is best to walk around the outside of the park and enter just next to the Family Mart.

I left Momoyama park wanting to go back with my family. You could go for a few hours or a whole day. It is a place for everyone of all ages offering green space, fun playground equipment, history, culture and science.

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Justin Dart

Justin Dart @justin.dart

I am a country boy transplanted from Wisconsin in the USA to central Gifu Prefecture.The main focus of my life in Japan has been to introduce people to the world and the world to local communities and culture through international exchanges and educational programs. My hope is that people will hang a right at Nagoya, get off the beaten path and explore Gifu...what I call The Jewel of Discoveries.アメリカの田舎で育った男、岐阜県の田舎に引っ越しました。ジャスティン・ダートです。僕の日本での生活は「世界を紹介し、世界の地域における文化と生活を、国際交流や教育プログラムを通して紹介する」という目標です。観光客が名古屋で右を曲がって、岐阜県の旅を試してみたいという希望を持っています。岐阜県:発見の宝。多年前,我从美国的乡村搬到日本岐阜県的中部。現在我最大的志向是向本地人介绍世界各地的文化及把当地文化介绍给世界各地的人。通过国际交流和教育方案,我希望會有更多的人开始去探索岐阜県的美丽与文化。

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