All About Japan

The Secret, Sacred Path to the Sea

Shrines Sea of Japan Temples & Shrines Yamaguchi

As much as we love the hustle and bustle of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, it’s the secret, secluded sites in Japan that truly blow us away. One of the most stunning locations you’ll find off the beaten track is Motonosumi Inari Shrine in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

123 red torii shrine gates wind down along a mountain toward a cliff overlooking the Sea of Japan. The beautiful colors, lush greenery and fresh ocean winds make this the perfect place to appreciate the connection between nature and the Shinto religion.

Whether you’re after a bountiful catch of fish, success in business, a safe journey, a baby or a soul mate, it’s believed that praying to the deity here can make your wishes come true. You’ll have to make sure you have good aim, though, because the offertory box for prayers is in an unusual spot, in a place you won’t see anywhere else in Japan.

Usually located on ground level, the offertory box is located at the top of the five-meter (16-ft) tall torii gate at the entrance of the path to the shrine. Known as the most difficult in the country for throwing money into, it’s believed your wish will come true if your offering lands in the box.

You can also visit the Ryugu no Shiofuki (“Dragon Palace Geyser”), which is located just past the final torii gate near the ocean. When waves break against a hole in the cliff here, the compressed air makes the water shoot up to 30 meters (99 ft) upward, which is said to resemble a dragon soaring in the sky.

If you’d like to visit the area, it’s in quite a secluded region that’s not easily accessible by public transport. However, if you’re unable to visit by car, the shrine is a 20-minute taxi ride from Nagato-Furuichi Station.

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