Valentine Day is approaching and it is a big thing in Japan. Unlike in Western Countries in Japan is only the girl who is supposed to give gifts to her partner, chocolate based gifts possibly. The custom has spread in such a way that some girls feel they are supposed to give chocolate, not only to their partner, but also to their male friends or colleagues. Somebody takes it to such an extreme that they are even stressed out by all the preparation efforts and chocolate shopping the days before.
If you are a chocolate lover, Japan during Valentine period is the place to be. Besides all the chocolate related frenzy there are other things that a couple can do in Japan to celebrate their love, one I suggest, also for the ones who are still looking for love, is to visit Daijingu Shrine in Tokyo.
Tokyo Daijingu has been established in 1880 to allow Tokyo citizens to worship the deities enshrined in Ise Jingu, probably the holiest shrine of Shinto religion. Ise Jingu is located in Ise City in Mie Prefecture and during Edo period it was extremely difficult for people living in Tokyo to travel as far as Mie Prefecture so Daijingu became very popular and it still is today.
Daijingu Shrine is the place to go to pray for a good marriage and in general for a good match so it is always bustling with couples and especially girls praying to right person for them.
The shrine is located 5 minutes from Iidabashi Station in Chiyoda ward, the area were also Tokyo Dome is located. At the entrance there is a stair and a water spring. Before entering the shrine we perform a small purification rite washing our hands.
The main pavilion is adorned with a purple cloth decorated with the Imperial Family crest. Why the Imperial Family Crest? That is because one of the deities enshrined in Ise, and therefore worshiped also in Daijingu, is Amaterasu, the sun goddess and Divine Ancestor of the Imperial Family. Amaterasu is also the goddess of match making that is why Daijingu is considered one of the most powerful shrines to pray the gods to find love or have a good marriage.
Inside the shrine there are a number of small rites to do to let love come your way. There are omamori, shinto amulets, to buy and keep as good fortune, there are omikuji, oracles that predict the future and give advice, there are also omikuji related to the blood type since in Japan some believe that each blood type as a distinct personality, like for the signs of the zodiac.
A small rite I like is described in the picture below, in the shrine you can buy two small wooden sticks, on the one with the white string write your name, divide the two sticks, leave the one with the white string in the shrine, to remind the gods about your wish and keep with you the one with the red string to attract love towards yourself.
If you like, you can alternatively write your wish on a ema, a wooden table decorated with red and white knots, symbols of love or symbols of the chinese zodiac, you can also decorate the table yourself, write your wish and then leave the ema at the shrine where the gods will take care of your desire.
The shrine is open 365 days per year from 6.00 in the morning to 9.00 in the evening and the visit is free of charge.