Green leaves, red torii, blue sea. But wait, there’s more.
This is one of Japan’s newer shrines, dating back only to the 1950s. Legend has it that a divine white fox heralded a message that could be (very) loosely interpreted as something like, If you build it, they will come.
Sure, the 123 red gates look cool and the offertory box placed upon the top of one gate a few meters off the ground is fun in a gimmicky kind of way. Do get your selfies in front of the big front gate. But the fox was indeed wise, and those who take their time here will discover why.
This place has natural appeal. The twisting trail through the gates is special. The fox advised this place in particular. Once you’re here, and you’ve relished the gates, you may just begin to look around. This is a place where connection to Nature is easy.
There’s a rocky outcrop on the coast with fantastic colors of swirling mineral deposits and geological treasures. Cliffs mark the edge of the land; they drop down into the Sea of Japan, which is particularly clear and beautiful here. Listen for the blowhole where the rocks meet the sea—also known as The Spouting Palace of the Dragon King. On rough days, the waves funnel through a hidden cave and spray spectacularly up into the air.
In a sense, the coins flying into the offertory box further up the mountain echo the blowhole metaphorically. As the sea leaves its realm and reaches into the sky, so the box calls your attention away from ground level upward and asks you to extend your offering far outside of yourself in connection to the environment.
Then there are the even smaller details of a summer’s day: wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and the smell of salty sea air. Around you, hawks glide on the air currents and windmills greet the breezes on the nearby coast. It’s no Iowan cornfield.
元ノ隅稲成神社—Motonosumi Inari Jinja—Motonosumi Inari Shrine
龍宮の潮吹—Ryuuguu no Shiofuki—The Spouting Palace of the Dragon King (blowhole)
17-minute taxi or drive from Nagato-Furuichi Station, near Nagato City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Parking 500 yen for the day.
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I'm also known as Faer Out. I love learning about people and nature all around the world. I've traveled throughout Japan and visited some 40 countries on 5 continents and hope to continue seeing and experiencing the wonder of this planet as long as I live.Based in Japan for nearly two decades, I'm the Regional Partner here for Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures. In addition to my work at JapanTravel, I have a language school called Rainbow Bridges English Academy in Fukuoka and am very interested in teaching, languages, communication, and photography, among other things. This October, I was a guest host on NHK World's J-Trip Plan, Caving Adventures in Western Japan.I love heading downtown to meet up with friends for a night out as well as being able to hop on my motorcycle and be riding through forest-covered mountains or to sandy beaches in 20 minutes. This area is very photogenic and even after years of exploration, there are still plenty of places to discover each weekend! My photographs are available for purchase on iStock, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime or by contacting me.Please contact me if you have any questions about travel in Japan. I'd also be grateful for any follows on social media!