While visiting Takeo, I stopped by the Takeo City Library and saw that there was a nearby shrine, so naturally I decided to go check it out.
Getting to the main gate, I was welcomed by a mossy torii gate surrounded by cherry trees well past their peak blossoming time, but still a welcome sight as it would be one of the last cherry blossom of the season that I would see.
Then walking to the main building of the shrine, I passed by two large cypress trees linked by a red rope, and that was a good indication that those trees are special. They are called meotohinoki or married cypress. You can read that it is sais that the trees have been joined by the power of God and that they represent the harmonious relationship between a couple. Couple can pray in front of them to wish for a good relationship. The trees are also represented in one of the shuin offered at the shrine, a beautiful two page shuin with the trees stamped in silver and surrounded by several pairs of colored bells with a heart motif.
The main building, mostly painted in white, is nice, but is not the most impressive shrine that you can see across Japan. As with many shrines, they can have an important cultural and religious importance for the local population without having a nationwide importance or reputation.
If you follow the path on the side of the shrine, you will get to a bamboo groove and a big camphor tree that is is said to be about 3000 years old. In the case of this tree, you can pray here to wish for longevity and good health.
The shrine is also apparently known for yabusame, horseback archery, but you would have to check for the schedule if you want to see it.
While it might not get into my top thing to do in Kyushu, I still think it is worth stopping for a quick visit if you happen to be in the area or if you like to collect unique shuin.