National

Grand shrine Izumo-Taisha drew record 8 million visitors in 2013

Kyodo

The number of visitors to Izumo-Taisha, the grand shrine in the city of Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, reached a record 8.04 million in 2013 after major repair work on its buildings was completed for the first time in 60 years, the prefectural government said.

The figure is more than double the 3.48 million people who visited in 2012, the prefecture said Thursday.

The number of monthly shrine visitors showed a 4.5-fold increase to about 859,000 in May, when a festival marking the return of the enshrined god to the main building was held.

Repair work on the buildings at Izumo-Taisha, which enshrines the god of marriage, took five years.

The number of monthly visitors topped 1 million in November as the autumn tourist season coincided with the annual festival during which gods are believed to assemble at Izumo-Taisha to discuss marital affairs.

Many hotels and inns near Izumo-Taisha were fully booked last year, while those in neighboring Tottori and Hiroshima prefectures also recorded more bookings, benefiting the local economy.

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