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.
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.