A wedding at Izumo Taisha

The couple exits one of the halls at Izumo Taisha, surrounded by a tiny cluster of relatives. The bride steps on the path in a swath of white and holds her head carefully, under the weight of her domed headdress. She looks demure, apart from her crimson lips.

The wedding coordinator places her hand on the small of the bride’s back, guiding her along. The groom trails behind. As he turns the corner, I sputter, “Omedetou.” He quietly acknowledges the nosy gaijin. Soon afterward, the couple and family members stand neatly and smile delicately, waiting for commands from the photographer.

izumo
Japanese Wedding, Izumo Taisha

Izumo is known as the Land of the Gods.  Izumo Taisha in modern day Izumo, Shimane, is a popular wedding shrine because it’s dedicated to Okuninushi, the god of all things unseen, marriage, and relationships.

Close to Izumo Taisha is Inasanohama Beach. Here, Bentenjima, a tiny shrine, perches on a single rock. Instantly, it reminds me of Temple in the Sea in Trinidad. The coastline here is windswept, reminiscent of the choppy, muddied waters of Columbus Channel along the southwestern coast of Trinidad. Legend states that all the gods in Japan meet at Inasanohama during kamimukaesai, the 10th month of the lunar calendar.

Further along the Shimane peninsula lies Hinomisaki lighthouse. This white, stone structure looms over the promontory, keeping a watchful eye on the boats out at sea. Shops selling souvenirs, dried fish, and grilled squid line the deserted lanes that lead to the lighthouse. A wrinkled old woman peers out of her shop. “Dozodozo,” she tells us, waving her arms over a blue tray of colorful shells of dried sea creatures.

Families flock to the lighthouse on the chilly winter evening. Young boys frolic close to the cliff’s edge. The ocean is a clear sapphire close to the rock walls. Seagulls rest on stretches of harsh, brown rock. Too soon, night falls and drenches everywhere in darkness. The shops and restaurants draw their shutters down and we must leave.

Photos: © Live Lyfe Photography

Did you ever visit Izumo? What did you think about it?

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12 thoughts on “A wedding at Izumo Taisha

  1. I almost imagined the wedding ceremony. Sadly, I haven’t been there. The closest Ive been to is Hiroshima, and this shrine kinda resembles the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. I need to visit Japan again because there’s still no many things that I haven’t seen yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow what a beautiful place to get married! And such an interesting wedding dress. I’m not sure I could manage a headdress like that! I love how you wrote this, I could really see them and how they might have been feeling.

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  3. That seems beautiful! It’s so touching to witness these traditions. In China, our traditional weddings are increasingly replaced by modern, church weddings. But I think there is definitely some magic to these cultured ways.

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  4. How wonderful to have experienced this moment in someone’s life when they have made such precious vows to each other in such a sacred and special place! I felt like I was there. I have never visited this part of the world, but I very much want to experience these traditions and cultures one day.

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  5. This was a wonderfully written account and one that speaks of an exceedingly lovely occasion. It must have been quite a humbling to be part of such an important day and in such a wonderful setting. That being said, I’m not sure the bride and I share a taste in gowns!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the way you wrote this! I honestly felt like I was there, although the bride’s headdress is not exactly what I imagined it to be. It sort of reminds me of the kind of headwear that those high up in the Catholic Church wear, except about 1000 times more beautiful.

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  7. I’ve only been to Tokyo so far, so I would love to see this place! Especially to see this temple that seems really gorgeous! The wedding kimono is so beautiful, I would love to have witnessed a wedding when I was in Japan!

    Liked by 1 person

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