Suitengu Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo famous for being where expectant mothers go to pray for the safe delivery of their child.
Interestingly, this shrine’s roots are in Fukuoka prefecture, but it was the shrine of a prominent family that moved to its former site in Akasaka to its present site in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi-kakigaracho district (in Chuo ward) in 1871. This followed a process known as bunrei, literally, “splitting of the spirit,” whereby the spirit worshiped at the original shrine was “split” for simultaneous worship at another shrine.
The god enshrined there, Ame-no-minaka-nushi-no-kami, is not a god that was closely associated with daily life, but was more of a creator-type character, and for this reason worship of it was not usual until about 700 years ago.
The present shrine building dates from 1967, and is on the upper of two stories, taking full advantage of the prime Tokyo land it occupies by housing commercial premises on the ground floor.
It hosts numerous events throughout the year. The one pictured here is typical, with vendors selling food and amulets, and priests performing rituals over the mothers gathered there.
Suitengu Shrine features some interesting statuary, from the ornate, fierce lions at the main entrance, to the bronze bitch looking after her puppy, to the cute kappa – a legendary river denizen – also nursing its child.
Suitengu-mae Station, Hanzomon Subway Line, Exit 5
Google Map of Suitengu