This is Suwa Shrine, famous as the stage for NagasakiKunchi.
From above it seems a small space to hold the Hono-Odori, but in this tiny area the dance is unbelievably dynamic and powerful.
On three sides throngs of people watch the performance below.
Now, in Suwa Shrine there are matchmaking Yin-Yang stones that have a long history.
It’s said that they’ve been there since sometime during the Edo Period (1603-1867)!
Visiting the shrine is easy. Just step on the flagstones on the approach to the shrine and visit the shrine to offer a prayer. That’s all!
However, the stones that men and women step on are different, so be careful!
First let’s talk about women:
In the area between the first and second torii gates at the bottom of the shrine approach there’s this stone.
It’s called the “Man Stone.”
It’s in the middle of the path and compared to the surrounding flagstones it’s big and round, so it’s easy to find.
Ladies, please step on the Man Stone.
Next climb up the steps a bit, and near the fourth torii you’ll find this stone…
This is called the “Woman Stone.”
This one is a bit more geometrically shaped than the Man Stone.
Guys, let’s step on this Woman Stone!
It’s said that after each gender has stepped on their respective opposite gender stones and then stepped on the Dual Gender Stone in front of the hall of worship, they will find their soulmate.
The fact that these stones have been here since the Edo Period means that people long ago used to visit for matchmaking, too.
The desire for love never changes, even though the people do.
There are many places inNagasaki, such as the heart stones nearSpectaclesBridgeorGloverGarden, that have such love-related legends attached, but the matchmaking stones at Suwa Shrine remain relatively unknown.
Saying that, when I visited the shrine I did spot one man very deliberately stepping on the Woman Stone and then going on to the hall of worship. Your time for love will come, mystery man!
Suwa Shrine is known, however, as a place for talismans and protection at sea, and you can pray for many things here, starting at the stone guardian dogs near the shrine gate. Why not visit and give it a go yourself?
【Suwa Shrine, Chinzei Grand Shrine】
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