Meoto Iwa – married rocks…

These rocks are situated in the quiet coastal landscape of Ise, Mie Prefecture, southern Japan; they’re connected by 2 ropes which are used to ward off evil spirits, following the principles of the Shinto religion. Every day, the married couple, tied-up to each other by a braided rope of rice straw, silently watches the dusk, until the sun goes beyond the horizon. In the morning, when the sun rises, the couple is exactly at the same place – still linked and on guard. Their stone stoicism is understandable as they are – literally – rocks. Shintoists believe that spirits, called “kami” inhabit people, places and objects.

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According to Shinto traditions, the 2 rocks from Ise, known as the “Meoto Iwa”(married rocks) represent Izanagi and Izanami – deities who have created Japan and the “kami”. The largest rock is about 9m high, and symbolizes Izanagi(the man), while the smallest one is about 3.6m, and symbolizes Izanami(the woman). Their wedding bond is a “shimenawa” – a sacred Shinto object often set on shrines and doors to keep off evil spirits. The rope between the 2 rocks gets worn out quickly because of the wind and waves, and it’s replaced 3 times a year.

 

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Posted on 11 January 2015, in melanie. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. A beautiful story Melanie and a great tradition. I agree with Gallivanta that it would be great to see the rope being changed, that event would probably entail a ceremony as well. Regards, Ian

  2. wonderful photos and story, Melanie. I like the frogs, too!

  3. Fascinating beliefs, Mélanie. I’m so glad I don’t have to be literally tied to my hubby. 🙂 Great photos as always. xx

  4. Bine te-am găsit, Melanie! Minunate poze, interesante și cuvintele tale atât de potrivite… mulțumesc. O seară frumoasă și numai bine, cu prețuire și drag, Georgeta

  5. Lovely words! Really love the frog statues along the coastline!

  6. Fascinating and beautiful! Thanks.

  7. Quelle passion dans ce texte! Le rouge de la photo du pont lui répond bien!

  8. lovely photographs, and really interesting to learn about the rocks.

  9. So interesting, Melanie and gorgeous photos as always.

  10. Wow, it’s so similar to our Apus (sacred hills) where a westerner would see a peak actually it has another peak or a lagoon (cocha) that balance the symmetry of masculine/feminine, up/down, left/right, and they are part of the same unity without superiority of one upon the other.

  11. Fascinating and great photos!

  12. Do you know the symbology of the plants and the branch attached to the entrance posts? I want to say arch but I know that’s the wrong word.

    • the local plants change with the season(s) and they don’t have a particular symbol… it’s not an arch, it’s a “torii”… 🙂 it means “bird abode” and it’s the traditional Japanese gate at the entrance of or within Shinto shrines, and it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred…

  13. Ah! Tes mots cadrent si bien avec ces superbes photos Mélanie! Bonne poursuite de ce dimanche!

  14. I like learning about such things and I like that people carry on these traditions. Great photos.

  15. The eloquent style of using words and images is amazing. Yisraela

  16. I thought that such things happen only in my country. Lol! people are the same everywhere.

  17. It must be interesting to see the rope being made and put in place.

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