Kanahebisui-jinja (金蛇水神社; or Golden Snake Shrine) is located in the Southern part of Miyagi Prefecture. The name of the shrine is represented by the three Kanji characters 金 (kin/kane; meaning gold or money), 蛇 (hebi; meaning snake) and 水 (mizu/sui; meaning water). Whilst the exact year the shrine was founded remains unclear, it is believed to have been some 1000 years ago. It is said that a swordsmith on imperial order to forge a sword for the emperor was able to complete his task after offering a serpent shaped amulet to the God of Suijingu Shrine. Since ancient times, it was believed that snakes and dragons were a reincarnation of the God of water. Due to the good fortune associated with the snake, the shrine became known as Kanahebisui-jinja.
Even if the history is a little hazy, there is one thing that locals still believe to be certain – the God of this shrine will bring you luck and wealth!
As the shrine is known for bringing fortune to those who come to pray, it is not a rare sight to see many business men around its halls. Nearby the main hall you will also notice some stones with snake-like patterns called ‘Jamon’ stones. People frequently line-up to touch their wallets to the stones, believing it will ‘power-up’ their wallet and bring them good fortune.
The surrounding grounds of the shrine are so pretty as well, with lots of greenery and flowering peonies. But what makes this shrine even more special is the stunning Wisteria just near the main gate.
This Wisteria has flowered here for over 300 years and is also known as the “Nine-headed Dragon” due to its nine branches. Every year there is a festival held at the shrine when the Wisteria is in bloom (usually mid to late May). Japanese Wisteria (or Fuji 藤) are famous and well-loved throughout Japan. Their long delicate strands of flowers have an enchanting fragrance. The beauty of the Wisteria flower even inspired a Japanese Kabuki entitled Fuji Musume (Wisteria Maiden) back in 1820.
If you’re in need of a ‘power-up’ of the spiritual or monetary kind, the good news is it is very easy to get to Kanahebisui Shrine! Just jump on a train to Iwanuma Station from Sendai Station (JR Tohoku Line, 21 minutes) then walk for about 30-40 minutes to the shrine (or take a shuttle bus operated during the Wisteria festival period).
Wisteria festival: Mid to Late May
Address: Kanahebisui Shrine; 〒989-2464 Miyagi-ken, Iwanuma-shi, Miiroyoshi, Suishin−７
Homepage: http://kanahebi.cdx.jp/ (Japanese only)