Hanjo, the God of Childbirth

  • Modification: 2023/12/27
  • Area: hirauchi

The gorintō (five-stone elemental pagodas; see signboard #90 in Shitogo Village for a deeper explanation) here at this site have been estimated to be about 300–400 years old, and are of a style that suggests Buddhist memorial significance.

In the small shrine lies a plump deified stone, said to house a god of safe child birth—a god colloquially referred to as Hanjo-gami since time immemorial. However, the goshintai (deified object containing the spirit of a god) that would normally be housed in the shrine has changed location several times over the years, including in the houses of several different village residents.

Traditionally, the way to pray for safe childbirth here at this shrine was to collect a small stone from the Sue Stream (also known as Shrine Stream) running next to the shrine’s torii gate. One would then wrap the stone in tsuwabuki leaves (Japanese silverleaf; Farfugium japonicum), and then place it at the base of the shrine before praying. Nowadays, however, how one chooses to pray here and commune with the divine is up to the individual.

Hanjo_the God of Childbirth



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