Hidden among the narrow streets of Kyoto’s Gion district is a roughly five-foot-by-10-foot stone covered with slips of paper. Those slips feature the wishes of those who’ve passed through the hole that runs through the middle of the stone.
The stone is a unique shrine that dates back to the seventh century. The Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine is often referred to as the enkiri (separation) or enmusubi (marriage) stone. It’s said to have the power to break up or initiate relationships.
Supposedly it can also to ensure safety when traveling by boat or automobile and relieve people of vices like drinking, smoking, and gambling. But in order for the stone to exercise its powers, a ritual must first be performed.
After paying your respects at the main shrine, buy a paper katashiro charm and write down your wish. While holding the paper charm in your hand, crawl through the stone while reciting your wish—from front to back if you want a relationship (or to strengthen your present one), and back to front if you want out.
When you emerge on the other side, bow and then crawl back through to where you came from. Then, stick your charm to the stone with the provided glue.
Know Before You Go
The shrine is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Keihan Shijo Station or Hankyu Shijo Kawaramachi Station.