May
2
2017

Meoto Iwa: The Divine “Wedded Rocks” in Ise

You might have already seen the scenic “Meoto Iwa” on photos and wondered what it is and where you can find it?
Two rocks connected by a rope, standing strong in the rough ocean.
Sounds kind of lame at first?

cute star smilie Visited: August 9th 2010 cute star smilie

Meoto Iwa Ise

The Sacred Meoto Iwa in Ise

Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩), also known as “Married Couple Rocks” can be found in Futami Town, Ise City in Mie Prefecture (map).
It’s actually not far from the Grand Ise Shrine, so you can visit both in one day.

 

Meoto Iwa Ise

The big rope that ties the rocks together is called “shimenawa” (注連縄).
Made of braided rice stacks, it’s about 35 m long and actually very heavy.
Everything that’s enclosed by the rope becomes sacred and is protected from evil.

Several times a year (May 5, September 5, weekend in mid December) there’s a ceremony to replace the sacred rope.

According to Shinto religion, Izanagi and Izanami are the creators of all Shinto kami (gods).
Meoto Iwa represents the divine union of these two. It’s also a symbol to celebrate the marriage of a man and a woman.

The larger rock personifies the man, the smaller one the woman. The “husband rock” has a tiny Shinto gate on top and is about 9 m away from the “wife rock”.

A lot of Japanese couples actually visit to pray for a happy wedding.

 

Meoto Iwa Ise

Best Time to Visit Meoto Iwa

It’s best to visit in summer (May – July) because you can see how the sun rises just between the two divine rocks.
But from autumn to winter you can see the full moon between the wedded rocks, so that’s also quite nice.

If you’re lucky (unlike me), you can see Mt. Fuji on very clear days.

You should better visit during high tide when the rocks are separated by the ocean.
Please check to make sure about the tide schedule.

 

Meoto Iwa Ise

Futami Okitama Shrine

Right next to Meoto Iwa stands Futami Okitama Shrine (二見興玉神社) which worships Miketsu, a goddess of food.

Meoto Iwa Ise

The scenery above reminded me a lot of Aoshima Shrine in Miyazaki.

Meoto Iwa Ise

You’ll find a lot of frog statues around the shrine.
They’re seen as “lucky charms” to bring back things or people that are currently gone / lost.

It’s easy to explain where this belief is coming from if you look at the Japanese language.
Frog in Japanese is pronounced as “kaeru” (蛙, noun) – which can also mean “bring back / come back” (返る / 帰る verb).

Meoto Iwa Ise

I heard you’re supposed to rub the statues to “trigger the charm”. ;)

Meoto Iwa Ise Meoto Iwa Ise

As you can see, the shrine is literally next to Meoto Iwa.

Personally, I wonder if there’s a connection between the rocks where you pray for a happy, long marriage and the frog charms that are supposed to bring back people you love ………….. Maybe I’m interpreting too much?! kaomoji ehehe

Meoto Iwa Ise Meoto Iwa Ise

I liked the ema of the shrine so much that I bought one.

I went with the one that didn’t have the zodiac on it. 2010 was the year of the tiger, so there was also a tiger version.

Meoto Iwa Ise

The shrine also had a really impressive collection of huge shells.

 

Meoto Iwa Ise

Other “Wedded Rocks” in Japan

By the way, Meoto Iwa in Ise aren’t the only sacred rocks in Japan!
They’re definitely the most famous, but if you can’t go to Ise, check out the following list:

  • Futami Iwa: Ichinoseki (Iwate Pref.)
  • Meoto Iwa: Nikko (Ibaraki Pref.)
  • Noto Futami: Shika (Ishikawa Pref.)
  • Fuufu Iwa: Nakano (Nagano Pref.)
  • Meoto Iwa: Nakatsugawa (Gifu Pref.)
  • Meoto Iwa: Takatsuki (Osaka Pref.)
  • Meoto Iwa: Matsuyama (Ehime Pref.)
  • Meoto Iwa: Bizen (Okayama Pref.)
  • Meoto Iwa: Itoshima (Fukuoka Pref.)
  • Meotoze: Naha (Okinawa)

This is actually just a very small selection. The full list can be found here on Wikipedia (Japanese).

I’d really love to see the one in Itoshima (Fukuoka) one day.
Have you been to any of these?

 

Tourist Information for Meoto Iwa

Opening Hours: always
Holidays: none
Entrance fee: free
Time required: 15-25 mins
Contact: 575 Futamichoe, Ise 519-0602, Mie Prefecture // TEL: +(81) 596-43-2020
Website: http://www.ise-kanko.jp/
Access: Get off at Futaminoura Station (JR). From there it’s a short walk (~ 15 mins). Iseshi Station near Ise Grand Shrine is only a short train ride away. You can also go by bus. Purchase the CAN Bus day pass (~1000 yen) if you plan to visit Ise Grand Shrine as well.

*Please Note: Prices as well as opening hours / holidays are subject to change. Please make sure to follow the provided link to the official website to check out the latest updates.

commentform input required

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Japan FAQs

 

Blog Posts

Recent Comments

Upcoming events in 2017: