A complete guide to the highlights of Keta Taisha Shrine, a matchmaking power spot on the Noto Peninsula

  • Aug 6, 2019
  • Mar 7, 2023
  • Cody Ng

Keta Taisha National Important Cultural Properties Worship Hall & Shrine Gate
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

Keta Taisha Shrine (氣多大社), located in Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture, at the base of the Noto Peninsula, is a historic shrine that has long been revered by the country as one of the leading shrines in the Hokuriku area. Since the enshrined deity Onamuchi-no-mikoto (the deity known as 'Okuninushi' at Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine) is the deity of love and matchmaking, it is often featured in women's magazines as a matchmaking shrine. In addition, it is said to be a shrine where a lot of "Ki" (氣) gathers from the name Keta Taisha Shrine, and there are many people from outside Ishikawa Prefecture visiting here too.

What is Keta Taisha Shrine?

Keta Taisha Shrine
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

Keta Taisha Shrine is located in the northern part of Hakui City on the Noto Peninsula, bordering the Sea of Japan. It is said that the enshrined deity Onamuchi-no-mikoto settled down here as a guardian deity after pioneering the Noto Peninsula. Five places in the precincts, such as the shrine gate and main shrine building, are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties. It is also known for its "Irazu no Mori" (入らずの森 - Untrod Forest), which is off-limits to anyone other than the "Guji" (宮司) - the highest priest of the shrine. By the way, the Guji can pass through the "Irazu no Mori" only once a year, and he only passes through it blindfolded in order to perform the Shinto rituals of the Okumiya (奥宮 - inner shrine).

National Important Cultural Properties of Keta Taisha Shrine

Keta Taisha Shrine Worship Hall
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

There are five nationally designated Important Cultural Properties: the shrine gate (神門 / shinmon) built using authentic traditional techniques, the worship hall (拝殿 / haiden) where prayers for matchmaking are held, the main hall (本殿 / honden) with a structure that is rare even in Japan, and the Wakamiya Shrine (若宮神社 / Wakamiya Jinja) and the Hakusan Shrine (白山神社 / Hakusan Jinja), on both sides of the main hall of Kita Taisha Shrine.

Praying at the National Natural Monument "Irazu no Mori"

Keta Taisha Shrine Wishing Stone
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

The "Irazu no Mori" is a virgin forest of approximately 26,299 square meters that has been designated as a national Natural Monument. There is an inner shrine (Okumiya) that enshrines the deities such as the main deity Onamuchi-no-mikoto, Susanoo-no-mikoto, who are said to ward off evil and bring good luck, and so on. Since it is in a sanctuary that has been off-limits for over 400 years, it is usually closed to the general public, but it was opened to the public for the first time during the period from December 2019 to February 2020 as the "Irazu no Mori Pilgrimage". During this period, worshipers wore formal attire such as suits and prayed at the Yohaisho (遙拝所 - place of worship) in the precincts. (For details, please visit the official website)

Also, it is said that if you place a pebble on top of the large stone with the word “Musubi Shin'en” (むすび神苑) written on it near the Irazu no Mori and Futodama Shrine (太玉神社), and make a wish, you will be blessed with even better matchmaking power.

Keta Taisha Shrine is a famous matchmaking shrine in Japan

Keta Taisha Matchmaking Ema
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

The enshrined deity of Keta Taisha Shrine, Onamuchi-no-mikoto, is the same deity of love & marriage known as Okuninushi-okami at Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, Keta Taisha Shrine is then also famous as a shrine related to matchmaking. Many people visit the shrine to pray for success in love, and more than 70,000 letters of gratitude are sent to the shrine when their wishes come true. In addition, various events and festivals are held throughout the year.

Popular Matchmaking Festival: "Tsuitachi Musubi"

Keta Taisha Shrine Tsuitachi Musubi
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

“Tsuitachi Musubi” (ついたち結び) is held on the 1st of every month and is a monthly festival where kagura performances and prayers are performed at the worship hall. Advance registration is not required for the monthly festival, and the first 100 people who arrive by 8:30 am on the 1st of the month can attend the monthly festival. At the worship hall, which has been designated as a nationally designated Important Cultural Property, the Shinto priest reads aloud prayers containing the prayers from shrine's visitors to the accompaniment of gagaku (Japanese court music). After that, there is an elegant dance by a shrine maiden, and sakaki branches and tamagushi (sprig of the sacred tree) are offered. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., you can make a prayer for marriage for free. If you are unable to attend, you can send your wish by mail and it will be placed at the main hall for a week from the day you send it.

A Representative Traditional Event of Keta Taisha Shrine: Heikokusai Festival

Keta Taisha Shrine Oide Matsuri (Heikokusai Festival)
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

The "Heikokusai Festival" (平国祭 - also known as the Oide Matsuri) is an important festival for Keta Taisha Shrine. It is a Shinto ritual in which about 50 people, led by a divine horse, parade through Hakui City, Hakui County, Kashima County, Nanao City, covering the distance of about 300 km for 5 nights and 6 days from March 18 to 23 every year. As a large-scale togyo festival (渡御祭 / Togyo-sai - sacred procession), it is attracting attention throughout Japan.

Umatsuri Festival Designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property

Kita Taisha Umatsuri Festival
Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

A Shinto ritual held in the early hours of December 16th every year. Before the 16th of December, three residents of Unoura Town in Nanao City, called the "Utoribe" (鵜捕部), will catch a live cormorant and carry it 40 km over three days to Keta Taisha Shrine on foot. From the moment this cormorant is caught, it becomes a deity and is called "U-sama" (鵜様).

After that, from 3:00 am on December 16th, a ceremony will be held at the shrine, including offering prayers and tetsusen (撤饌 - the removal of offering). Also, since ancient times, there is a custom to release the cormorant in front of the shrine and predict the next year's fortune based on the commorant's movement. After the ritual, the cormorant is released on the shore.

Keta Taisha Shrine's photo wedding has become a hot topic among foreigners

Photo courtesy of: Keta Taisha Shrine

Keta Taisha Shrine enshrines the deity of love and matchmaking, so many couples hold wedding ceremonies here. The surprising part is that the price is only 150,000 yen for everything from the bride and groom's kimono and accessory rental, to hair and makeup, transportation, and even photo shoot. It is said that some people from other parts of Asia even come to Keta Taisha Shrine for their weddings.

How to get to Keta Taisha Shrine from Kanazawa

From Kanazawa Station, take the IR Ishikawa Railway train bound for "Nanao" for about 60 minutes, get off at "Hakui" Station, then take the Hokuriku Railroad Noto Bus bound for "Togi" for about 10 minutes, get off at the "Ichinomiya" bus stop, and walk for about 5 minutes.

Spot Information

  • Name: Keta Taisha Shrine (氣多大社)
  • Address: 1-1 Jikemachi Ku, Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Access: From "Hakui Ekimae", take the Hokuriku Railroad Noto Bus bound for Togi for about 10 minutes, get off at the "Ichinomiya" bus stop, and walk for about 5 minutes.
  • Admission fee: Free
  • Visiting hours: 08:30-16:30
  • Closed: No holidays
  • Language Support: The official website is available in English, German, French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean
  • Official site: https://keta.jp/history/ 

Keta Taisha Shrine, Japan's leading shrine for love & matchmaking. If you are planning to have a wedding ceremony, please come and visit Keta Taisha Shrine!


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