Everyone visits Motonosumi Inari for the beautiful shrine – but hidden on the cliffs is an ocean blowhole that shoots water over 60 feet in the air!
Motonosumi Inari is a combination of nature, man and the divine. The trail of torii gates leading down to the rocky peninsula and crashing ocean has made the shrine the highlight of many Instagram posts and travel posters, and it is sure to inspire anyone that visits.
If you just go for the shrine, though, you’ll miss out on the real highlight: The Spouting of the Palace of the Dragon King.
We’ve gone to the coast twice to see this shrine. Honestly, I think we went more for the Ryugu-no shiofuki blowhole – 龍宮の潮吹 or “The Spouting of the Palace of the Dragon King” – than the shrine and the toriis.
White Fox Shrine
This shrine is dedicated to a white fox that appeared to a fisherman in a dream asking to be enshrined in the area. There are many things the Motonosumi Inari shrine is believed to help; a prospering business, large catches and safety at sea, fertility, good luck, wealth, happiness, and academic success are on the list.
At the top of the mountain is the head torii. Look up and you will see an offering box that is one of the most difficult offering boxes to throw coins into in Japan. They say that if your coin makes it into the box your wish will come true!
There are then 123 red torii gates that lead down to the cliffs. There is a small clearing where we let the kids down, but I mostly held on to Jeannie because I didn’t want her running off. It was pretty cold and windy both times we went so the kids wanted to sit where the wind was being blocked. The water being sprayed from the Ryugu blowhole showered anyone downwind of it, and added to the cold!
Palace of the Dragon King
While waves crash against the cliffs below, water is compressed in an underwater chamber that blasts the water out at high velocity. Myths began about a dragon living in the ocean, shooting out of his lair. Matt loved this. Unusual natural phenomena, combined with an adventure to get there, are right up his alley.
We scaled the rocks to get a closer look. We didn’t feel comfortable bringing the kids down wet, sharp cliffs, so we took turns watching them.
It was exciting to hear the waves crash and then see and hear water rocket out of the hole – it is especially impressive when it blasts you up close! The first time we went we got a little wet. The second time the waves were much bigger and Matt got soaked!
Take a picnic!
The drive to Motonosumi Inari shrine took us about 2 ½ hours from our home in Iwakuni. We left early, then had a picnic. Just up the walkway (toward the bathrooms) is an open space that has some benches and a drinking fountain that was blocked from the wind, so it was actually pretty warm there. We let the kids run around and it was a great place to have a picnic.
We stopped at a Akiyoshi Farm Garden, a farm store specializing in blueberry products, on our way to the freeway that was fun. It looked like they had some good lunch options there at a small cafe on one side of the store. There were so many blueberry things to try!
We tried a jelly-like bar, some blueberry white chocolate and blueberry bubble gum. It was fun but I wouldn’t buy them again. I would, however, buy the pure blueberry juice they had there. They let us try a sample and it was delicious! It was was a little expensive so we didn’t buy it. We ended up spending about the same amount of money on the other things but they didn’t taste as good, so I would recommend just buying the juice!