Turns out, if you want to pray for money, there’s a really long line.

Like many of us, Mr. Sato is unsatisfied with his current financial situation. And with another term of Abenomics on the horizon things are not looking promising. Of course, it’s not like there was much alternative, but at least “Yurinomics” would have given him a more fun way to grumble about it.

So our reporter decided to look to the gods for help with his monetary affairs and found the best place in Japan to do so: Mikane Shrine. Sure, there are many shrines believed to be especially lucky when it comes to praying for cash, but it’s hard to beat a place whose name literally means “Money Shrine.”

So, Mr, Sato hopped a plane to Osaka and then traveled by bus to Kyoto in order to find this mecca of money.

From Kyoto Station it was about a 10-minute subway ride to Karasuma Oike Station. Mr. Sato sat on the train envisioning the luxury and opulence that Mikane Shrine must be steeped in; a towering monument to wealth unlike any he’s ever seen.

However, after exiting the station no palatial place of worship could be seen. He was beginning to think that he had the wrong place when suddenly he spotted Mikane Shrine nestled next to a large apartment building.

It was smaller than Mr. Sato expected – a lot smaller. But there was no mistaking that this was it, because Mikane Shrine has something few, if any, other shrines have: a golden torii! These gates that typically stand in front of shrines are usually wooden or in some cases stone, but a golden one was a rare sight indeed.

While the place wasn’t exactly Xanadu, that was certainly a classy touch, so Mr. Sato went inside. A sign explained that this shrine holds the spirits of Kaneyamahiko gods, Izanagi and Izanami. The gods are generally worshipped for all matters related to metals, most popular of which is unsurprisingly money, but the shrine also happily accepts prayers for matters of real estate and other assets.

Interestingly, this shrine was also originally a person’s house, but around 1900 was converted into a religious facility.

Mr. Sato dug into his pockets to search for change to make an offering but he had none. He had invested the last of it on a pack of cigarettes and only had 1,000 yen (US$8.80) bills on him.

“Ugh, why do I never have the money I need?” cried Mr. Sato silently as he clutched his pack of Marlboros. However, there was no turning back, so he figured if he’s going to do it at Mikane Shrine, he should do it big. And so, he offered the full bill to the Kaneyamahiko No Kame. It was more than he had ever spent on the supernatural, but you have to spend money to make money.

Mr. Sato walked through the precincts to the merchandise counter which offered fortunes for 300 yen ($2.65). However, having been burnt especially bad by a poor fortune at another shrine, Mr. Sato was soured on the whole thing and took a pass this time around.

There were also ema for sale for 500 yen ($4.40) each. These are wooden placards on which you can write a wish and hang in the shrine for the gods to hear. They’re a common sight in many shrines and visitors can look at the rack on which a dozen or so tablets hang at any given time.

Mikane Shrine, however, was a whole other league of desire…

The rack itself could barely be seen behind the mountain of hundreds of ginkgo-leaf-shaped wishes from visitors wanting more money in their lives.

It would take about as long and be about as interesting as watching Wall Street 2, as it would to read through all of them but the ones that Mr. Sato could catch from a glance were:

“For me to win the lottery.”
“Salary up!”
“For my debt to be eliminated.”
“For me to have money.”
“I love money!”
“I don’t have enough money.”

Although these messages were seemingly shallow for a place of spiritual enlightenment, Mr. Sato shared pretty much all of their sentiments and would be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t. However, salt of the earth he is, Mr. Sato has no desire to be filthy rich…just moderately rich would suffice.

Shrine information
Mikane Shrine / 御金神社
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Oshinishinotouincho 614 Nishinotoin-dori Oike-agaru

Photos: SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]