Ueki, Kumamoto: Birthplace of the Legend of Ono no Komachi
Athletes, students, dreamers, and challengers – all visit Kigan Goukaku to pray for luck and success.
Greetings from the Chief Priest
Kigan Goukaku Shrine is where Ono no Yoshizane, father of famous Heian period poet Ono no Komachi, is enshrined.
The unlucky victim of punishment to his father, Yoshizane found himself exiled to modern day Kumamoto Prefecture. It was here where he made a habit of lifting his hands in prayer towards the twin peaks of Mt. Yokoyama, wishing for the prosperity of Japan, and praying for guidance to change the world to one of fairness and truth.
Yoshizane took a branch from a great tree, carved it into a five-sided cane and inscribed on it his prayer. Day after day, he hiked up the nearby mountain road to the twin peaks of Mt. Yokoyama and offered up his Musou no Seigan (a wish of incomparable passion). Miraculously, his prayer was fulfilled, his exile was lifted, and he went on to reach a rank even higher than before his exile.
The most important factors in the success of your own Musou no Seigan is deciding on a goal and striving and praying with all of your might to reach that goal. Doing so will combine the powers of Mt. Yokoyama and Ono no Yoshizane to see that your wish is fulfilled.
Kigan Goukaku Shrine is where hard-workers striving to achieve their goals and those vowing to do their best come to receive luck and courage.
Visitors to our shrine include those aspiring to become the best in their region, in Japan, or even throughout the world, along with challengers who are pushing themselves to their limits to reach their goals, and other strong-willed guests who come pledge to do their best.
We refuse blessings to those who lack a strong resolve and a clear vision of their goal.
Praying at the shrine
The traditional procedure for praying at Kigan Goukaku Shrine is to bow twice, clap five times, then bow once. Bowing is a declaration of thanks and your efforts to date.
The meanings of the claps are:
First clap, the heavens
Second, the earth
-Harmony of the heavens and earth
The first two claps bring the heavens and earth together.
Third, all things with form
Fourth, all things without form
-Harmony of all things
The next two claps bring all things together, both with and without form, that are interwoven within the heavens and earth.
Fifth, the vow
-Prayer for success
The heavens and earth and all things therein have been brought together, and this final clap links this to the success of the prayer of the worshipper.
The History of Kigan Goukaku Shrine
Ono no Yoshizane, son of famous Heian era scholar Ono no Takamura and father to renowned poet Ono no Komachi, is enshrined at Kigan Goukaku.
In the year 835, Yoshizane’s father Takamura was promoted by the Emperor Nimmyou to the position of vice-envoy to the Tang Dynasty of China. He set out on the 17th envoy to China along with chief ambassador Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu in a formation comprised of four ships and approximately 600 men, but they had difficulties on their journey and their ships became damaged. Damage to the first ship, the one on which Tsunetsugu rode, was especially bad.
When setting out again, Ambassador Tsunetsugu commanded Takamura to change ships and let him use the vice-envoy’s ship. Takamura grew incensed and refused the command, and then penned a poem lampooning and criticizing the envoy.
This drew the wrath of the Emperor Saga, who banished Takamura to modern-day Shimane Prefecture in the western part of Japan.
Yoshizane was also punished as a result, and was exiled to the region that is now Kumamoto. He found himself banished far from friends and family at no fault of his own, and in his solitude, he lifted his hands in prayer towards the twin peaks of Mt. Yokoyama, wished for the prosperity of Japan, and prayed for guidance to change the world to one of fairness and truth.
Yoshizane took a branch from a great tree, carved it into a five-sided cane and inscribed on it his prayer. Day after day, he hiked up the mountain road and faced the twin peaks of Mt. Yokoyama to offer up his Musou no Seigan (a wish of incomparable passion). Miraculously, his prayer was fulfilled, and he went on to reach a rank even higher than before his exile.
Help your wish come true with a Kigan Goukaku votive placard!
Write down your goal or dream on a votive placard and tie it to one of the votive racks within the shrine to ensure your success!
For those living far away, please fill out the form below, write your prayer on a placard and send it to the shrine. We will hang your placard within the shrine grounds for you. We recommend buying placards this way if you live too far away to visit the shrine.inquiry
Keep this charm close and hold it tight to make sure your dream comes true!
Consecrated at monthly festivals held on the fifth of each month.
*Not for sale on internet as supplies are limited and priority is given to visitors to the shrine.
What is a charm rod?
Ono no Yoshizane, the man enshrined at Kigan Goukaku, once took a branch from a great tree, carved it into a five-sided cane and inscribed on it his prayer. Day after day, he hiked up the mountain road and faced the twin peaks of Mt. Yokoyama to offer up his Musou no Seigan (a wish of incomparable passion). Due to the passion and power of his prayer, it was fulfilled.
These charm rods are made to represent Yoshizane’s cane. By writing down your prayer on the charm and holding it tightly when giving your own Musou no Seigan, your prayer will become that much stronger.
*The address above may not work properly when used in car navigation systems or internet map sites.
Please search using “1375 Uekimachi Iwano Kita Ward, Kumamoto, Japan 861-0136.” The shrine is near the Kyuken company offices.