Guest Author - Ching Kin Min
Udo Shrine lies in Miyazaki prefecture in Kyushu, and is located not too far away from Aoshima Shrine. Whereas people who go to Aoshima Shrine pray for success in love, those who come to Udo Shrine pray for a safe childbirth and resolve fertility problems.
Visually speaking, Udo Shrine is awesome due to two facts – First, it's located at the hillside along a coast. So as you walk inside the shrine from the main entrance to the main hall (about ten minutes or so), you get a breathtaking view of the sea. Second, the main hall itself is located inside a cave. This cave is where the mother of the gods had nursed her children.
The panoramic view you get on your way to the main hall, and the fact that the hall is inside a cave are enough reason to attract even casual tourists to visit Udo Shrine. But that's not all – there's also a Game Corner, located at a terrace overlooking the sea, just outside the cave. Among the rocks below is a particular one called Kameishi (Turtle Rock). With a couple of small lucky ceramic balls called Undama you can buy from the main hall, aim at the centre of Kameishi, marked by a rope. If one gets in, you'll receive good luck. The thing is, the target is located somewhat further than the one at the Disc Clay Throwing Corner at Aoshima Shrine, and what's more, according to the sign, males are supposed to throw the balls with their left hand, while females throw them with their right. Obviously, right-handed females and left-handed males have a considerable advantage...
The most unique attraction of Udo Shrine, however, lies further inside the cave with the main hall. Legend has it that the mother of all gods used to nurse her children here - which is probably the reason why it's popular among pregnant Japanese women, or couples hoping for a baby. Apparently, when the mother of the gods left the cave, she left her boobs here as well, and attached them to the rock wall, which remain to this day. To help visitors find these boobs, there are signs that point toward two vaguely boob-shaped formations in the wall, indicating the words “Boob Rock” in Japanese. Water is constantly dripping from these rocks. According to legends, Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan, had also drunk from the “milk” here.
The “Boob Rocks” are located a couple of metres away from each other, though each one is only slightly larger than an ordinary human woman's. And in case you're wondering, they feel just like any other normal rocks...
There is a small water point of sorts in the cave where pregnant Japanese women actually drink from, to hope for a safe childbirth. Near this water point are packets of “Boob Candies” for sale. These candies are made using the Holy Milk (water) dripping from the Boob Rocks. According to the instructions, you have to place the candies into a cup of hot water, and mix them before drinking the whole thing. The taste? Like honey water.
Udo Shrine is slightly more than an hour's bus ride from Miyazaki Station, further away from the city area and more remote than Aoshima Shrine. The latter, by the way, lies along the route to Udo Shrine, so it's entirely possible to visit both in one day – half a day if you travel fast.