Shinmei Shrine in Osatsu, a small community in Mie Prefecture, is a magnet for tourists from across the country, particularly women attracted by its supposed promise to accommodate at least one of each female worshipper's wishes.

But the shrine is more than just an ordinary place of worship or a popular sightseeing spot. Ishigami, a god enshrined there, is believed to be the protector of ama (sea women) divers, an endangered breed of women who stake their livelihood on — and risk their lives for — fishing deep under water without a breathing apparatus.

Shigako Imura, 82, who retired after 66 years of dive fishing three years ago, used to worship at Shinmei Shrine twice a week.