Photo by Mujo

Make or Break Bonds at the Fate Stone in Gion

Christmas in Japan is more of a couple’s day than a family holiday. It’s not a national holiday and most people have to go to work. But for those of you vacationing in Japan, if you make your way to Kyoto with your loved one, why not head over to a curious little shrine where you can ensure yourself a happily ever after ending.

Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine 安井金毘羅宮 is just a five-minute walk south from the main street of Gion, the geisha district, and Yasaka Shrine. When you visit, don’t be surprised if you see a long line of people waiting patiently to test the powers of the “enkiri/enmusubi stone” 縁切り縁結び碑. This roughly translates as severing or binding one’s fate to another.

Photo by Mujo

The Ritual

As most things concerning one’s fate go, the process is quite simple.

For 300 yen, you buy a white slip of paper, katashiro 形代, and write down your wish. The ritual can be performed not only for relationships, but also to ward off disease, or summon good fortune.

Photo by Mujo

Next, crawl through the hole from the back to front for a binding effect. Reversely, to end a relationship, crawl from the front to the back. Then just paste the paper among the many others to seal the deal. My friend accompanied me on my trip to visit the fateful monolith. Before slipping through the hole, she bid me farewell and thanked me for the good times we had shared together. That was the last time I saw her. I suppose her wish came true...

Photo by Mujo

A short history

According to the shrine’s website, Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine was established more than 1,300 years ago to pray for the continued prosperity of the 38th Emperor Tenchi, and was originally called The Temple of Wisteria 藤寺 for the purple wisteria that had been planted.

The 75th Emperor Sutoku looked kindly upon this shrine as he was fond of the plants and repaired the buildings in 1146. Sutoku was later exiled in Kanagawa after losing a war known as the Hōgen Rebellion. In 1177, Sutoku appeared in a dream to the Buddhist monk Daien, when he visited the temple, showing him how prosperous past times were.

At Daien’s urging, then Emperor Go-Shirakawa built another temple to appease Sutoku’s spirit. That temple was destroyed in the Ōnin War and was eventually replaced by the Rengekōin 蓮華光院 temple moved from Uzumasa Yasui.

For those interested, admission to the temple museum costs 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for children. For more information, check out the shrine’s website here.

Below is embed for map of shrine’s location:

By - Mujo.