Meoto Iwa (vw, the Wedded Rocks) are two sacred rocks in the ocean near Futami, a small town in Ise City. The larger of the two rocks represents the husband and the smaller one represents the wife. Both rocks are connected by a shimenawa rope which acts as the division between the spiritual and earthly realms. In a ceremony, the shimenawa rope is replaced three times a year.

Visitors are advised to visit the Meoto Iwa during high tide when the rocks are actually separated by water. More difficult to catch is the famous view of the sun rising between the two rocks on a fine summer morning. If you are in favor with the gods, you get both the sun rising between the rocks at high tide plus the silhouette of Mt.Fuji in the distance. Visibility needs to be extraordinarily good in order for the iconic mountain to be visible.

Not far from the Meoto Iwa is the Futami-Okitama Shrine, where a number of shinto deities (kami) are enshrined. Many frog sculptures can be seen in the vicinity of the shrine as they are believed to be a type of charm for bringing people or things back. The term for frog in Japanese (kaeru) uses the same phonetic term for the verb "return". There is a small shop not far from the shrine that sells amulets and fortune telling paper slips (omikuji)

The path that leads to the rocks carries on eastwards, passing another small shrine, the Ryugu Shrine which is dedicated to the dragon god of the seas. The pathway ends at Futami Plaza, a souvenir and restaurant complex that also features a small, aging aquarium. A stone's throw from Meoto Iwa on the opposite side is the Hinjitsukan, a former accomodation for important guests visiting the Ise shrines, which is now opened to the public as a museum.

Getting there and around

The rocks are a 15 minute walk from JR Futaminoura Station, which can be reached by JR trains in less than 10 minutes from Iseshi Station (210 yen one way, hourly departures). Alternatively, the rocks can be accessed by the CAN buses.

How to get to and around the Shima Peninsula