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Meoto Iwa, also called the “husband and wife rocks” or “wedded rocks”, are a pair of small rocky stacks in the sea right in front of the Futami Okitama-jinja Shrine in Futami Bay, Japan. According to Shinto beliefs, the rocks represent the union of the creator of kami – the spirits, and therefore, celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman.

The larger rock, named Izanagi, is the husband and stands 9 meters tall with a girth of about 40 meters. Izanagi has a small Shinto torii gate on its peak. To his right is the 3.6 meter high “wife”, Izanami, which is about 9 meters round. Being married, they are joined by the distinctive sacred ropes particular to Shinto shrines and holy places, made of braided rice stalks called Shimenawa. The ropes biding the two rocks weigh almost a ton, and are replaced in a special ceremony held three times a year, in May, September and December.

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