The Island of Kinkasan

Kinkasan deer
The deer of Kinkasan

Last week we ventured to the neighboring prefecture of Miyagi where we made a special visit to the sacred island of Kinkasan just off the coast of Ishinomaki City along the Sanriku Coastline.

This island is home to the Koganeyama Shrine, a shinto shrine visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year seeking blessings for wealth and financial good fortune.

Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune

It is said that by visiting this shrine each year for three years in a row will bestow visitors with wealth and fortune in their lives. It also has a unique ritual here where visitors will wash their credit cards in one of the fountains next to the Ebisu and Daikokuten statues at the shrine to obtain wealth and fortune.

Kinkasan deer
The deer of Kinkasan

In addition to the Koganeyama Shrine, Kinkasan also has over 500 deer that freely roam the shrine and forests of this island. Deer are viewed as messengers of the gods in Shinto religion and like the deer in Nara, have enjoyed centuries of pampered treatment by the people visiting Kinkasan. The shrine here sells deer feed with which you can feed the deer here. Just be careful as the deer here have zero fear of humans and will not hesitate to bump or even bite you if they see a chance to get more food out of you!

See a short video we shot with the deer during our short visit.


Reaching Kinkasan is a bit tricky as there is only one single ship that departs from the port of Onagawa each weekday at 9:00am sharp.

Further, this ship departs back to Onagawa at 11:00am from Kinkasan leaving guests only 2 hours to explore the island before having to head back.

There is a small hotel and temple lodging available on the island, as well.

We will be making a detailed articled about this sacred island as we research more into its deep history as well as its ties with the Dewa Sanzan Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture.

In the meantime you may see the following link for boat times to get to Kinkasan.

The boat that transfers guests to and from Kinkasan