The fabled yokai water imps at this shrine want to make you happy for your whole life.

We’ve all had the experience of a sign along the road that makes us stop in our tracks and check out the proclaimed wonders for ourselves. For some people, maybe the magic words are “jumbo steaks,” “cold beer,” or “totally nude,” but the one that made us slam on our brakes while driving through Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture promised “the most blessed kappa statues in Japan.”

Sure, if they were just any old blessed kappa statues, we’d probably have kept on driving. But the most blessed ones in Japan? And since Japan is really the only country where you’ll find statues of the mythical water imps, that probably makes them the most blessed kappa statues in the world!

So we pulled over, got out of the car, and walked through the torii gate of Kitakyushu City’s Mimusubi Shrine, located on a hillside across the street from the coastline.

Once on the shrine grounds, it didn’t take long for us to find the kappa statues.

Kappa occupy a sort of a strange place in Japanese folklore. In some tales, they’re dangerous, evil monsters who drown children, consume human flesh, and want to steal a mystical orb-shaped organ called the shirikodama out of people’s buttholes. But in other stories, they’re harmlessly quirky creatures, and this kinder, gentler image is the one they have at Mimusubi Shrine.

For example, this serene Zen-meditating kappa isn’t just here to impart a sense of calm with his stoically peaceful demeaner. Kappa have the power to absorb water, and Mimusubi Shrine says that if you channel your worries and sadness into a bucket of water, then use that bucket to wash the statue, it’ll absorb those negative emotions as well, freeing you from your woes.

The other statues have their own purported benefits, and as a whole actually constitute a sort of life-long good-luck kappa plan. For example, if you’re still in school there’s the Exam-Passing Kappa, holding a tome of knowledge, that you offer a few coins to for good luck in your academic endeavors.

Then there’s a cozy couple called the Enmusubi Kappa, who’ll grant you good luck in finding the love of your life

…plus the Married Couple Kappa, for when you want to make sure the relationship stays happy even after you’ve tied the knot.

When you and your spouse are ready to make some little baby kappa, there’s the Safe Childbirth Kappa

…and since kids aren’t cheap, the Prosperity Kappa, holding two gigantic coins.

And to make sure you’re able to enjoy that happy life for many, many years, there’s also the Health Kappa, who’s looking like he might be able to give that super-muscular Attack on Titan butt we saw the other day a run for its money.

With Shinto having a less defined central leadership than many other religions, some other shrines may not fully recognize Mimusubi’s assertation that these are the most blessed kappa statues in Japan. Until someplace else challenges them for the title, though, we’ll take them at their word.

Shrine information
Mimusubi Shrine / 皇産霊神社
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Kitakyushu-shi,

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]