Motonosumi-jinja Shrine 元乃隅神社
Atmospheric shrine perched on a clifftop
Established in 1955, reportedly by divine decree of a white fox spirit, Motonosumi-jinja Shrine and its many red torii gates have become one of the most well-known locations in Yamaguchi . Motonosumi-jinja is a power spot that is a lot of fun to visit.
- Watch the Ryugu no Shiofuki sea spray spout
- Throw a coin in the unusually placed offering box
- Look out for the small stone statues of foxes
How to Get There
Located in the northwest part of Yamaguchi Prefecture and away from major towns, this spot is a little off the beaten track. A taxi or rent-a-car is the best way to get there.
Buses or trains do not run to the shrine, so it's best to drive to Motonosumi-jinja Shrine or take a taxi. The shrine is about 20 minutes from Nagato-Furuichi Station or about 40 minutes from Nagato-shi Station by taxi.
Ryugu no Shiofuki
Because it faces the Sea of Japan, the wind on the cliff tops is often strong and bracing. Take time to observe the Ryugu no Shiofuki, a natural spout of white wave spray that erupts from the particular rock formations on the cliffs as the waves dash against them.
One of the most beautiful places in Japan
Chosen as number three in CNN Travel's list of "Japan's 31 Most Beautiful Places," the view of Motonosumi-jinja Shrine deserves its reputation.
You will want to walk slowly through the tunnel of 123 vermillion torii gates up to the small shrine. On a sunny day the red color of the gates stands in striking contrast to the cobalt blue of the waves below.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting this shrine is the offering box.
The offering box is normally placed in easy to access locations near the main shrine building. But not here.
The offering box is hung at the very top of the torii gate, into which visitors can throw money. See how many throws it takes you to get your coin into the box.
It is said that if you are able to make the offering by getting your coin in the box, then your wish will come true.
White fox spirits and Yamaguchi Prefecture
A common subject of Japanese legend, white foxes are spirits, with the ability to change into human form. Here, they are revered for their fertility and prosperity.
An hour or so is enough time to walk around Motonosumi-jinja Shrine, take in the sights, and take your fill of photos. This can be combined with a visit to Tsunoshima Bridge and the islands beyond, as well as the Hagi area, and the Meiji Japan Industrial Revolution heritage sites to make for a wonderful day trip.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.