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My wife has been pregnant for 5 months. In Japan when a woman gets pregnant, she goes to shrine with a maternity belt on Dog’s Day of lunar calendar to pray for her easy birth of baby. My wife and I went to Myoken Shrine in Kagoshima, Japan.
First Visit to Myoken Shrine
At first, we searched famous shrines for easy birth on internet. We thought the appropriate shrine is very far from our house and it would take at least 2 or 3 hours from our house. Surprisingly, however, the shrine is located at the neighborhood of our house! Lucky! The weather was very fine on that day and suitable for shrine visit.
Usually many of Japanese shrine gates are colorful red. But the gate of Myoken Shrine is simple black.
Guardian statue stands besides the shrine gate with a frowned face. How scary he is! But, at the same time, he is somewhat cute…
Incidentally, the building near the shrine gate keeps the ashes of the deceased. I know that many Japanese Buddhist temples keep ashes of dead, but it is my first time to see the building at a Shinto shrine.
God of Myoken Shrine
The Myoken Shrine worships the God “AMENOMINAKANUSHI”. The God is usually known by the nickname of “Myoken” and this is how the name of the shrine comes from.
But do you know what kind of the God it is?
The God is the first God in Japan (according to Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion).
Speaking of Japanese Gods, Amaterasu and Ninigi are very famous among Japanese people. But Myoken is much older than them and is the God of Gods.
In other words, Myoken is the God of Origin. This is why many people worships Myoken as the God of easy birth. If your partner or you are pregnant, it will brings you a good luck to make visit to Myoken Shrine.
Husband & Wife Camphor Trees
You will find huge Camphor trees at many Japanese shrines. But Myoken Shrine’s tree are special. They are twin camphor trees connected by ropes.
Hum? If you watch the trees closely, there are lots of colorful threads between trees.
In Japan, people have been to a shrine with loved one and tied the thread (made of Japanese papers) at shrine’s tree in the hope for their marriage and eternal love.
My wife and I follow the Japanese old custom and tied colorful thread to the trees. 🙂
Sacred Seal of Myoken Shrine
As I did at many shrines, I received a sacred stamp of Myoken Shrine. The name of Myoken is written on the book.
We feel that a visit to this wonderful shrine definitely increased the possibility of safe birth!
We took a picture in front of the shrine’s building with a sacred seal and a maternity belt.
In the past, most of maternity belt was usually simple black. But recent many Japanese shops a various kinds of colorful and cute belts. My wife chose the pink one with a small ribbon. It is cute!
Ritual of Maternity Belt on Dog’s Day
After we went home, my wife wrapped her belt with a traditional maternity belt according to the custom of Dog’s Day.
Do you know why the day is called “Dog’s Day”? Dog usually have many puppies at one birth and the birth is usually very easy.
My wife’s belly will get big day by day! I look forward to seeing a baby!
（Following sentences were added on 13 November 2015)
When I was putting my hand on my wife’s belly, I felt a baby kicked her belly! I was really touched and had the feeling of becoming a father. I really thank the God of Myoken Shrine!
Access to Myoken Shrine
The closest train station to the shrine is JR “Usuki”, but car is very convenient. The shrine is located at the quite residential area.
There is a free parking lot at the shrine. 🙂