I am very fortunate to visit one of the three largest Kumano shrines in Japan! What set this shrine apart from others is that everywhere you set your eyes on will always remind you of love! Maybe you are wondering why! The oldest power of couple of love showered their graces here in Kumano Taisha shrine! The shrine is celebrating its 1,200 years of existence and the shrine is slowly gaining popularity not only from the local people but also from foreign tourists!

So I guess a lot of people are still looking for love. Though love is not just confined in finding Mr. or Ms. Right but also finding love in what we do, our career and our family! There are so many forms of love out there. But this shrine is really very special for people who is still on a lookout for finding the perfect person who will be with him or her or someone they can call forever! The shrine is also popular for Japanese traditional wedding! I am used to seeing wedding ceremony in a festive mood but the Japanese way of wedding is totally different from what I have in mind! The bride does not even smile, everybody looking dead serious and people are not allowed to make unnecessary noises! This is because they said that the God is within the presence of the bride and the groom and the silence is a way of paying respect to the God.

After seeing a very solemn wedding ceremony we were able to continue with our shrine exploration! The shrine has all in all 46 infrastructures from its main hall to the guardians of the shrine. There is this one post near the main hall that pretty much sums up what married life needs in the embodiment of three animal: pigeon/dove (peace), carp (good fortune) and turtle (long life)! The place will give you a sense of serenity and peace. It’s actually a very good environment to unwind and to think about what your heart truly desires! Even the leaves of the trees were heart-shaped! After saying our prayers, the guide from the shrine told us that for our prayers to come true we need to look for not just one but three rabbits hiding in plain sight (uhm well not really!)! After roughly 5 minutes I located my first rabbit, and then when I was already searching for my last two rabbit, our jolly shrine guide gave us a hint of where to find the two rabbits! So yey! I got to see three rabbits! So does it mean love will finally come my way?

Some of my fellow ambassadors were only able to find two rabbits! But I could not tell them where the last one is! Since it’s a rule that once you found the last one, you cannot share or give a hint to where that last rabbit is! So sorry guys I could not help you with that! Another task of the group was to look for a branch of a tree that looks like a white wolf when hit by sunlight. This one was quite easy and we saw it instantly. Before leaving the shrine we bought a little rabbit figurine that has a tiny piece of paper that tells you what kind of luck you have. I only got the middle one but I think I am quite ok with it. This means I just have to work hard for the missing pieces to come together.

We capped our journey and shrine exploration by eating a lunch set that contains produce from Yamagata! Everything was sooooo delicious! I have indeed a happy stomach! This trip was truly very filling! Not just my heart but also my stomach!