Enmusubi: Japan’s Concept of People Connecting Destinies

Enmusubi: Japan’s Concept of People Connecting Destinies

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Picture: reiki0911 / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
Is it love...or is it destiny? A look into the concept of enmusubi, including Japan's most famous "power spots" for forging new bonds.

Who doesn’t love the idea of nudging fate in a favorable direction? We all cling to the hope that following certain guidelines might bring about something good. That’s where the Japanese concept of enmusubi steps in.

Enmusubi offers the promise of forging meaningful connections, be they romantic or not. With its matchmaking powers, enmusubi has stood the test of time, attracting those craving companionship and deeper connections.

Fate-binding ritual

Picture: asubi / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Enmusubi, at its core, is a timeless matchmaking ritual crafted to spark romantic bonds between people. Its roots stretch back in history when matchmaking intertwined with mysticism and the supernatural. Fate, with its enigmatic force eluding human grasp, was inevitably explained in spiritual terms, leading many to attribute it to divine intervention. During the Edo period, people actively sought deities like Ookuninushi-no-Mikoto for their matchmaking prowess, entrusting them to shape the destiny of love.

Enmusubi encompasses three key definitions. First, it signifies uniting individuals, often with marriage as the goal. Second, there’s the ritual side, where the names and ages of potential partners are tied to shrines or trees, typically favoring evergreens like pine and cedar or ancient trees with divine essence. Third, enmusubi was a playful pastime among courtesans, offering insights into future romantic connections across lifetimes.

Enmusubi, in its diverse forms, serves as a bridge between people’s destinies, uniting what was once apart. Although now synonymous with marriage and romance, its roots run deeper. Originally, it was about cultivating harmonious connections with others, nurturing positive human interactions, and invoking happiness.

Where pathways converge

Breaking down the kanji of enmusubi, we find “en” and “musubi”. The first signifies “thread” and “edge”, while the latter is from the verb “musubu”, meaning “to tie”.


En isn’t just a word; it’s a concept steeped in Buddhist wisdom. It’s the thread that guides potential outcomes, from cause to occurrence and beyond, into the unknown. It’s that rare power, akin to fate, ensuring certain situations lead to specific results. In this context, it’s the driving force behind forming connections.

Simply put, it implies that you could cross paths with your soulmate – perhaps by chance, perhaps not. But without the influence of en, that encounter alone wouldn’t necessarily lead to a happy ending. Here, en acts as the link that ties two fates together.

But we’re not just talking about finding your life partner here. One of the core lessons of enmusubi is that connections are all around us. The world thrives on them. No one exists in isolation. It goes beyond romantic relationships to include ties with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. Every interaction sparks a connection, and from these encounters, anything – or nothing at all – could blossom.

It even extends to chance meetings with favorable opportunities and events. Enmusubi is at work in practically every situation where things align just right. Essentially, our lives are a colorful mosaic of connections and bonds that evolve beyond our grasp, under the watchful eye of deities. Sending our prayers and wishes their way might just be the key to swaying enmusubi in our favor.

Enmusubi etiquette

The torii gate leading to Izumo Taisha, Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.

As clarified, enmusubi, or matchmaking, operates to cement connections. But don’t mistake it for the ritual of establishing good connections. Despite their similarities, they’re divided by a subtle yet significant difference: enmusubi binds you to someone or something you’ve already encountered, not to what you’re yet to come across. It’s all about the outcome, not the initial cause.

Let’s look at how the matchmaking ritual works. The most natural approach is to visit shrines across the country and offer prayers. You can do this at virtually any shrine nationwide, but it’s ideal to opt for locations famous for their matchmaking prowess. As you pass through the torii gate, offer an initial prayer, clearly stating who you are and what you’re seeking. This ensures that the deity is well aware of your intentions and desires right from the start.

When exploring shrines, you’ll stumble upon various items tied to matchmaking. Among them, amulets or fortune slips could be your ideal companion to keep wishes and prayers alive long after your visit.

Now, that sounds simple enough. But for it to really pay off, there are a few key conditions to consider. To make the most of matchmaking rituals, mental readiness is vital. Keep your mind clear and focus sharp, radiating positive energy and heartfelt gratitude during your prayers. Another tip is to speak sincerely to the deity while visualizing your desires. Follow the proper procedures when visiting the shrine to show reverence to the gods, and hold onto that sense of gratitude with you even after you’ve left.

Enmusubi power spots in Japan

Koinoki Shrine in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Picture: 撮るねっと / PIXTA(ピクスタ))

Shrines aren’t the only spots for perfect matchmaking blessings. Japan is teeming with places where spiritual power runs so deep, it can make your deepest desires come true. You’ve probably heard of them – they’re called “power spots.”

Back in the 1990s, “power spots” (パワースポット) emerged onto the scene, coined by Masaki Kiyota, a Japanese psychic renowned for bending spoons. These spots were touted as places where the earth’s energy overflows, offering a source of revitalization. They’re believed to heal body and soul while ushering in good fortune and positivity. From health and wealth to career success and love, these blessings touch every aspect of life.

This tradition, however, isn’t as new as the term itself. Power spots have roots dating back to the Edo period when certain temples, shrines, and natural sites were known as “Iyashirochi” (弥盛成地), revered as sacred. These places drew regular visitors seeking vitality from the earth. Besides being a tonic for the spirit, power spots also harbor blessings for matchmaking. That could be yet another reason to add them to your next trip!

Power spots are scattered across the country like treasures waiting to be unearthed.

Some reside within shrines and temples, like the famous “three great shrines of Japan” – Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture, Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture, and Katori Shrine in Chiba Prefecture.

Others take the form of sacred mountains, such as the esteemed “three sacred mountains of Japan” – Mount Fuji, Mount Hakusan, and Mount Tateyama. Then there are places where natural wonders emerge from the earth, like hot springs and volcanoes.

Some power spots boast unique electromagnetic waves or lack of magnetic force, like the renowned Bungui Pass in Nagano with its “zero magnetic fields.” Others are abundant in negative ions, like the waterfalls and forests in Yakushima. Lastly, there are sites or structures positioned above dragon veins, channels of energy flowing through mountain ranges according to the principles of Chinese feng shui.

Top enmusubi matchmaking sites

Izumo Taisha, Japan - top enmusubi power spot
Izumo Taisha in Shimane Prefecture, one of Japan’s top enmusubi power spots. (Picture by UJ author Jay Allen)

You could pray for matchmaking anywhere nationwide if you play by the rules. But certain places stand out for their powerful matchmaking vibes. From sites wrapped in legend to energy-rich power spots, here are the top five shrines recommended for matchmaking: 

1. Izumo Taisha in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, is the most famous enmusubi shrine. It pioneered modern matchmaking practices, fueled by countless legends. Its influence extends far beyond romantic relationships to foster meaningful connections and overall happiness. The deity enshrined here, Okuninushi no Mikoto, has been revered since ancient times for these very reasons. During the lunar month of October, known as kannazuki (the month without gods), all gods in Japan gather in Izumo to assist Okuninushi in bringing people together.

2. Tokyo Daijingu, often hailed as the “Ise Shrine of Tokyo,” stands as the birthplace of modern Shinto weddings. Situated right in the heart of the city, it beckons countless visitors actively seeking love and marriage.

3. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, nestled in Kamakura and tied to Minamoto no Yoritomo, the inaugural shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate. Yoritomo takes center stage in the legend surrounding this shrine. He fervently prayed to a stone nestled in the shrine’s expansive pond for the safe childbirth of his wife, Hojo Masako. This stone, now known as Masako-ishi, is now an emblem of marital harmony, believed to bless worshippers with extraordinary connections.

4. Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, in Kawagoe, is famed for its matchmaking and love fulfillment powers. The deities enshrined here are protectors of marital harmony. Plus, believers treasure the shrine’s sacred flock as an amulet, believing it brings blessings to cherished relationships.

5. Keta Taisha, in Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture, hosts vibrant matchmaking rituals. Every month on the 1st, visitors from all over gather for the “Tsuitachi Musubi” ceremony, eagerly seeking blessings for matchmaking.

Where wishes take flight

Human connections can be a labyrinth to navigate, we all know that. Yet, within Japan’s enchanting terrain, there are secret havens where ancient traditions meet modern hopes. Here, amidst the whispers of deities and the earth’s pulse, dreams might find their way into reality. All it takes is a heartfelt prayer in the right place.


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