Meoto Iwa : The Wedded Rocks

Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩) the pair of wedded rocks in Ise Shima take a special place in Japanese mythology. Judged by the number of tourists visiting the place they are without doubt the most photographed rocks in the country.

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History

Meoto means couple in Japanese.  The larger rock symbolizes the husband named Izanagi and has a small Shinto tori gate. The smaller rock to the right is his spouse named Izanami. According to the Shinto legends, the islands in the Japanese archipelago were born of this couple.

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The Meoto Iwa rocks are a gateway for Okitama Shinseki, a sacred rock 700 meters offshore, that symbolises the Great God of the Sun. The rocks are joined by a sacred rope made of braided rice stalks weighing a ton. Based on information provided by the nearby shrine, the ropes were hung at least as early as the fourteenth century. Since they are replaced in a special ceremony held by the local people three times a year (May, September and December).

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Photography

If you have time try to visit this place at high tide which allows you to make pictures of the rocks surrounded by the Ocean. Check one of the tide planners like Tide Forecast that are easily available on the internet. For really spectacular photos it is recommended to arrive on a clear day in the summer by around 5 am. You will be rewarded the sun rising just between the rocks and in the far distance Mt. Fuji.

Access

Most tourists have a JR pass and in such case take the train from JR Ise Shi station to JR Futami No Ura Station (10 minutes). From here the rocks can be reached in an easy 20 min. walk.

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If you have been visiting the famous Ise Jingu then it is best to take one of the CAN busses which provides in direct connections from the shrine. More information in English about the Can bus pass and timetables can be found on the tourism site of the Mie prefecture.

4 thoughts on “Meoto Iwa : The Wedded Rocks

  1. Great post and beautiful pictures as always! Do you know how these rocks became associated with Izanagi and Izanami? There’s so important in Japanese mythology and in the Shinto religion that it seems like there must be something compelling about them to engender the association.

    1. Hi Erin. Thank you very much ! To answer your question. Not really. I do know there are similar “rock couples” in Japan but they are far less famous. The above information that I have is from the shrine you pass on the way to the Meoto Iwa rocks. Unfortunately my Japanese was not good enough to read and understand their explanation in Japanese.

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