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Posts tagged gohei

Mizu Inari Jinja (水稲荷神社)



The white paper on this Shinto shrine is called gohei (御幣). The bells are rung to summon the gods. The kanji written on the bell pulls say Asukai (飛鳥井). I’m not sure of the significance.

This shrine dates back to 941, but, like many shrines in post-WW2 Japan, 水稲荷神社 has been moved from its original location. Mizu Inari Jinja has been in its current location (between Waseda University and Kansenen Park) since 1963.

Scenes from the neighborhood – Part 1

nishiwaseda neighborhood typical japanese house futon hang airing

We’ve been in Japan for two months now. I remember on those first couple of days thinking that I should immediately take lots of pictures of interesting things in our neighborhood as they would soon become so common in my head that I would forget how curious they are to someone not living here. For whatever reason, I didn’t take those photos and now I can’t remember what those things were. As I originally thought, my immediate surroundings have become too familiar and are no longer strange.

On my walk to Waseda University I pass the above home. It is just around the corner from our apartment. While you may think that Tokyo is all high-rise apartment buildings, there are actually many neighborhoods with few such buildings. Ours is one of them.

The lady who lives in the above home is frequently out watering her plants or chatting with her neighbors. On this morning she is airing her futons, which is a common sight when the weather is nice.

award winning flowers tokyo house japan

A close up of some of her plants and flowers revels that Mrs. Uchida has won an award. If you can read Japanese click on the above photo to see her award for flowers and greenery.

home in tokyo japan lantern

When a matsuri is going to happen in the neighborhood these lanterns and gohei line the streets.

The streets of Japan, even a big city like Tokyo, are usually spotless and would be very aesthetically pleasing were it not for the power lines that obstruct and foul the view. Maybe one of these days they will be put underground.

house in tokyo japan that looks like it could be in denmark or europe

Here is a rare camera angle that actually was able to capture a bit of Tokyo without any wires. This home doesn’t look very Tokyoish. It looks more like one you could find in Denmark or other parts of Europe. Our neighborhood has many such “different” homes. I’ll show you some more in later posts.

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社), Part III

I have more noteworthy photos from Fushimi Inari than I originally thought. I don’t think this will be my last blog entry on the subject either. I hope you are enjoying the pictures. This shrine is my favorite so I got a little picture happy.

Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 torii 鳥居

This first one shows a torii with a plaque. The plaque says 稲荷大社 (Inari Taisha). Notice the rope around the sacred object under and behind the gate. This rope is called shimenawa (注連縄). You’ll find it around Shinto gods (kami) like rocks and trees. I’m pretty sure you can spot some in Hayao Miyazaki’s famous anime movies like My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ). Sometimes you’ll see it on torii (like in the picture two down). When in the manner below it is to ward off evil spirits or indicate that you are entering sacred space.

Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 鳥居 torii sakura

Did I mention that you’ll see a lot of torii here? 😉 Not all of the torii are for walking through. Similar to ema, people purchase these mini torii and then leave them as offerings to bring good fortune at the Shrine. I noticed that people put the date on the left side and their names on the right side of these torii. This is the opposite of what you see on the large torii you walk through. I don’t know the meaning or significance of this. It may just be a matter of the first person getting things backwards and then everyone else playing “follow the leader.”

The contrast of the bright torii, dull gray rocks and stones, white cherry blossoms, and vivid greens made every view breathtaking. I believe there was a large pond just beyond this scene. The intermingling of nature with this Shinto shrine is spectacular. As you can see from these last two pictures, the manmade artifacts are set beautifully in the groves.

Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 鳥居 Shimenawa gohei

As I suspected in my prior entry, the missing character was probably a 納. 奉納 (read right to left in Japanese on the torii) means “offering.”

Here we see more shimenawa. We also see some gohei (御幣, also called shide), the white paper hanging on the shimenawa.

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