市比賣神社Ichihime Shrine is small shrine located off of 河原町通Kawaramachi Street south of 五条通Gojo Street. The deities to which the shrine is dedicated are all female, a large part of the reason that it is known for protecting women and adhering to any wish of its female visitors from all over the country. The deities are also known to protect the market (市ichi) since the 平安時代Heian Period which is where it gets a part of its name. There is a festival or event held every month of the year except August and October. Apparently the shrine has been mentioned in many Japanese classical literature including the “源氏物語Tales of Genji”.
I first learned of 市比賣神社Ichihime Shrine when participating in the 京都十六社朱印めぐりKyoto Juuroku-sha Shuin Meguri (Kyoto 16 Shrine Red Seal Tour) in the winter of 2009.
the helpful signs which point visitors to the shrine from Kawaramachi Street
the entrance to the shrine
the main hall where women had reserved for 女人厄除けnyonin-yakuyoke, a ceremony performed by a Shinto priest to purify of bad luck
the area past the main hall to the left where 絵馬ema (wooden plates of prayers) are hung and where small shrines can be found
天之真名井Amenomanai is one of the seven places in Kyoto with 名水meisui, or famous mineral water. The 若水wakamizu, water drawn in the first day of the year, that flows from its spout has been used throughout history for the drawing of the Emperor’s first bath; now it is used for tea ceremony, flower exhibits and book fairs. It is said that if you drink the water and put your hands together in prayer, a heartfelt wish will come true. Above the water basin are 姫みくじhime-mikuji, fortunes in the shape of a princess; this fortune was created in the form of a female doll for girls in hopes of a happy and healthy future.
Although fortunes, good luck charms and other goods are sold at the entrance to the small shrine, there’s also a booth right outside on Kawaramachi Street.
This is where Mr. Man bought me a 女人お守nyonin-omamaori (women’s good luck charm), ￥800, because I was in my 本厄honyaku, an unlucky year which the Japanese believe to occur several times in a woman’s lifetime. This charm is believed to protect the woman in all ways.
the front of the light pink charm with its purpose stitched in gold
the back in which the shrine’s name is stitched in gold
It’s one of my favorite shrines for being small enough to explore thoroughly and in an accessible location (close to 地下鉄烏丸線五条駅Subway Karasuma Line Gojo Station), and of course because it’s female-friendly.☺