• Beniko

41. Kibune Shrine

During the hot humid summer in Kyoto, I visit Kibune Shrine (貴船神社) every now and then. As referred to as "Mountain Retreat of Kyoto", the weather in Kibune (貴船) is cool in a comfortable way. You may find it even chilly after having a relaxing time on famous Kawadoko (川床, wooden floored dining space over the river).

Every time I visit Kibune, I pay a visit to Kibune Shrine. Nowadays, the shrine has become very popular especially as a spiritual place, which is believed to endow visitors with healing energy. However, the shrine was already famous since long time ago, as responsive for prayers of En-musubi (縁結び, matchmaking), as well as of water-related disasters prevention.

My Onesan (お姉さん, mentor Geiko) once taught me: Izumi-shikibu (和泉式部, a female poet in the Heian period) made a prayer at the shrine for reconciliation with her husband who had left her, and her prayer was answered.

On the other hand, there is a scary folklore of Ushi-no-koku-mairi (丑の刻参り, a visit to a shrine deep at night in order to put a spell of death on somebody). I was freaked out when I heard the story, and people burst into laughter when I said "I'd rather be excused to fall in love with anybody if love turns to be that ugly".

When I was a Maiko (舞妓), Kibune was the place for Gohantabe (ご飯食べ, private dining with important customers), and I always enjoyed it in a relaxed way. Among my customers, those who from Tokyo were especially fond of Kibune.

When I visited there today, the shrine was crowded with many young girls seeking for the love of their lives. The good luck charm of the shrine "Mizu-ura mikuji (水占みくじ) is indeed a big sell today.

Thank you very much.

Talk to you soon.

Beniko

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