Motonosumi Inari Shrine is a unique shrine situated in the city of Nagato, in Yamaguchi prefecture. The shrine is famous for its 123 red torii gates that lead up a cliff overlooking the Japan Sea, and for the impressive view of the contrasting colours of the red torii gates, the blue sky and ocean and the surrounding greenery. While many visitors natural head to Fushimi Inari’s shrine in Kyoto, this smaller but perhaps more beautiful version is more difficult to get to and is probably more easily explored by those travelling around the west of Japan by car, where it makes for a great and unique stop. This side of Japan is a rewarding trip for those interested in nature and authentic Japanese culture, and Motonosumi shrine definitely ticks those boxes.
Normally at the shrine, an offertory box is placed on the ground but this shrine’s box is placed at the top of a five-meter tall torii gate at the entrance of the main approach to the shrine. It is believed that if you successfully throw money into the box, your wishes will come true.
One of the most beautiful and yet mostly unexplored sites by foreign tourists to Japan, the Motonosumi shrine is a fantastic place to visit and is sure to feature early on in any photo album of Japan. Those that make the trip will be rewarded with a fantastic backdrop of ocean and an unforgettable experience.