If you wash your money in the spring water of the shrine's cave, it will bring long life and happiness and wealth multiplying luck, for which many tourists visit here. In this article, we will introduce the traditions and highlights of Zeniarai Benten Shrine and the correct money washing ritual.
About Zeniarai Benten Shrine
The exact origin of the shrine's foundation is unknown. It is said that Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate, once prayed for peace of the Shogunate to Buddhas. In the first year of Bunji era(1185), Ugajin, kami(god) of Japanese Mythology depicted with the body of a snake and the head of a bearded man, appeared in his dream and said "If you worship the Buddha with the water that springs up here, peace will reign in your land". Minamoto Yoritomo then ordered the shrine's construction and peace came to the land of the Shogunate.
After that, Hojo Tokiyori, the fifth shikken (regent) of the Kamakura Shogunate, passed on Yoritomo's faith. He washed money with miraculous water at the Okumiya(rear shrine) and prayed for the prosperity of the Hojo clan. As a result, it became the origin of the folk religion: "if you wash your money in the spring, it will multiply". There are Okumiya, Honsha, Suijin (water god), Shichifuku-Jinja Shrine in the precincts. Please take the time to visit them one by one.
Highlights of Zeniarai Benten Shrine
The highlight is the "Okumiya" in the rock cave next to the Hongu where one of Kamakura's 5 famous source waters, "zeniaraimizu", is springing out. "Orizuru"(paper crane) and Torii made by worshipers as thanks for the benefit is dedicated in the cave. It is evident that people have believed in the shrine for a long time.
In addition, the Honsha, which enshrines Ichikishimahime, the water god of Japanese Mythology, is said to bring profit related to music and entertainment business. In addition, if you walk through the cave, you will find the Shichifuku Shrine on the right side of the precincts. The Shichifukujin(Seven Lucky Gods), including Daikokuten, Ebisu, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, Hotei, Fukurokuju, and Jurojin, are enshrined there.
The ritual of washing money
Put some money on the dish-like basket and rinse it with water by a ladle. It is important to wipe the washed money carefully and put it back into your wallet. Use it as soon as possible as well. Many worshipers visit the shrine especially on the day of Tsuchinotominohi(1st June 2019, 31st July 2019, etc.), the date of temple festival of Benzaiten.
Access to Zeniarai Benten Shrine
The shrine is about a 25-minute walk from the west exit of Kamakura Station. As there are steep slopes along the way to the shrine, it is recommended to go with comfortable shoes if possible.
- Spot name: Zeniarai Benten Shrine
- Street Address: 2-25-16 Sasuke, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0017
- Ticket: Free
- Opening hours: 8:30～16:30
- Closing days: none