Kyoto’s Heian Jingu is an impressive and popular shrine, built in 1895 for the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Heian-kyo (Kyoto).
We continued our walk toward the Philosopher’s Path and happened upon the much smaller and older Okazaki Shrine, which is set back from the street, surrounded by tall trees, giving it a secluded peaceful atmosphere. The shrine was founded in 794. The verdigris copper roof of Okazaki Shrine showed what the shiny new copper roof in the Heian Shrine compound would look like in time. At the chozuya (water purification font) overseen by a large shiny black statue of a rabbit, there was a young couple in traditional dress – from observing them, I guessed they might be newly wed and preparing to pray for a child. I think this was my favourite shrine because of its intimate scale, its purpose, and the fact that it wasn’t crowded – the rabbits were very cute as well.
The female shrine attendant who provided a shuin confirmed that the rabbit Omamori contained a folded paper fortune for a healthy family, and the shrine and rabbits are associated with conception and safe and easy childbirth.