If you hear about the somewhat well-known “Breast Shrine”, as the nickname goes, located in Soja, it might strike you as another one of those oddities you hear so much about on the subject of Japan that are reported time and time again in the media. In fact, Karube Shrine is simply a fertility shrine that focuses on the female aspect of the process.
Karube is located in a section of Soja City called Kiyone. This district was formerly an independent village until it merged with Soja. As this is the case, there is still quite a strong sentiment of pride that remains in the culture which continues to be agriculturally based.
The Shrine venerates Chichigamisama or the Goddess of the Breast for the protection of women who hope to have a child, are with child, or in the breast feeding stage of child-rearing.
It is not uncommon to see young couples at the shrine walking the grounds, which extend onto the mountainside. Upon entering, the first thing that people do is cleanse their hands and mouth at the natural spring fed ornamental cistern; this symbolizes purification before entering holy ground.
After two claps of the hands and a bow to the goddess, it is customary to enter the main structure itself, which seems to be guarded by an altar at the entrance. Covering every inch of the walls of the shrine’s interior are prayer plaques on which visitors have written their hope for such things as safe childbirth, ample breast milk for their child, and protection/recovery from breast cancer.
Make an offering by placing a small donation in the collection box to help maintain the shrine and promote the health of women and children.
About the Area
Soja is an inland city in southwestern Okayama Prefecture. It is borders the cities of Okayama, Kurashiki, Takahashi and Ibara and the towns of Kibichuo and Yakage. This unique geographic position has meant that the city has always been deeply intertwined in regional cultural and political affairs.
With a name that literally means “all shrines”, it would be easy to assume that the city contains a lot of them and you would be correct. However, in many ways, Soja is very much a temple town, in that there are two major ones near the city center.
One of the most interesting parts of the city is the old shopping street that runs parallel to Route 180. There, you will find clues to life in the Meiji era in the stories told through its homes and storefronts.
Access: From JR Okayama Station, take the JR Hakubi Line to JR Kiyone Station, then walk for about 10 minutes to reach the shrine.
1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).
|Cancellation Date||Up to 21 days prior||20-8 days prior||7-2 days prior||Day prior to start of tour||Day of tour||After start of tour/non-participation with no contact|
|Cancellation Fee||No charge||20% of tour fee||30% of tour fee||40% of tour fee||50% of tour fee||100% of tour fee|