The Rabbit Bulletin: UsagiShrine

Last month, I went to Kyoto to see Japans’ famous Shinto, ZenBuddhistic, and Buddhistic temples and shrines.

Since Kyoto has over 1600 temples and shrines, and I only had 4 days to spare, it was imperative to find the most important shrines… The most important one was, of course , the Higashi Tenno Okazaki Shrine otherwise called “Usagi Shrine” or “Rabbit Shrine”. The Okazaki Shrine is dedicated to the mythical deities kami Susano-no-mikoto and Kushinadahime-no-mikoto and their three daughters and five sons.

The “usagi” (rabbits) are messengers for these deities and visitors of the shrine therefore come to pass their prayers and messages to the rabbits. Many times, women come here to pray for an easy childbirth.

This is because the shrine received additional imperial favor after the of the successful birth of a Japanese empress in 1178.

If you visit the Rabbit Shrine, (which you should), you also take the opportunity to buy rabbit lucky amulets, so called “Usagi Mikuji Omamori”. These amulets are meant for making wishes what you need to do is write down the date and contents of your wish and your name. You can also go to one of buildings called chozuya (a building for purifying your hands before praying), there is a statue of a black rabbit looking up at the moon. This rabbit is called “Kosazuke Usagi,” and it is customary to splash water on the statue and rub its belly before you make your wish.

Just go there!

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