Japan has both a shrine and temple devoted to breasts, the Karube Shrine in Okayama Prefecture, and Mama Chichi Kannon Temple in Aichi (I’ll post about it next week).
The Karube Shrine in Soja City, Okayama Prefecture is dedicated to the Chichigamisama (Goddess of Breasts), a deity believed to help with everything from safe births to the production of breast milk to breast cancer cures. It was built in 1678, and was once famous for a cherry tree known as the “tarachine cherry tree.” Tarachine means mother, but has the chinese character for “breast” in it, and it seems that the shrine became associated with breasts because of its weeping cherry tree.
Today, you can find many wishes from women suffering from breast cancer, or who are asking the goddess to help them with breastfeeding. And, of course, a few just want a bigger bust.
Photo courtesy of: http://ya7454nora.blog87.fc2.com/blog-entry-83.html
These breast-motif votive plaques cost 2000 yen. There’s ordering information at: http://www.okasci.or.jp/kibiji/kibijinohana/seinenbu.html
From Okayama Station, take the Hakubi Line bound for Niimi to Seion Station. It takes 23 minutes and costs 400 yen. The shrine is three minutes by taxi from Seion Station.
Seion Karube, Soja-shi, Okayama Prefecture.
Google Maps: http://maps.google.co.jp/maps?t=h&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=34.637092,133.729706&spn=0.047244,0.102139&z=14