Thursday, November 4, 2010
Karube Shrine is located a few minutes from Kiyone JR Station on the Hakube line. The shrine is a few kilometers south of the Kibi Bike Path and well worth a detour off the path to visit.
Like so many shrines it is built at the base of the hills, and in the grounds are several small secondary shrines, probably gathered here from the surrounding area in the early 20th Century.
When we get to the main building of the shrine however we see what makes Karube Shrine different and why it has the nickname Oppai (boobs) Shrine.
The kami here is Chichigamisama, the kami of breasts and women come here to pray for plenty of breastmilk and safe delivery of children.
The Ema with breasts on can be purchased locally, and the prayers written on them were split 50/50 between asking for good milk and safe birth and for relief from breast cancer.
What I found more interesting were the ema that were hand-made rather than being purchased.
The custom of breast ema seems to have spread a little. This last photo is from a sub-shrine at nearby Kibitsu Shrine.