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Posts tagged shimenawa

Shinto rope

kanazawa shimenawa shinto sacred rope japanese boy shrine

Shinto shrine

I’m not sure the exact location of this jinja as I’ve never been there. Today’s random photo was taken by either my son or daughter when they were being toured around the Kanazawa area courtesy of the generous Maki San.

That’s some serious Shinto rope (shimenawa) on this shrine.

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.

Mizu Inari Jinja

One of the closest shrines (if not the closest) to Waseda University is Mizu Inari Jinja on the Takadanobaba side of campus. I’ve shown you glimpses of it previously. Today’s photo (my Windows 7 random wallpaper of the day) is a close-up version.

360 year old torii

One early summer day, we grabbed a guide book and headed to Komae City (狛江市), in the southwest part of Tokyo near the Tama River. As part of the walk, the guidebook had us go through Izumi Shrine (伊豆美神社) to check out the 350+ year old stone torii (鳥居). We were looking for something really impressive so it took us a while to actually find what we came to see.

While the stone torii gate looks impressive from the angle you see above, I was on the ground to take this photo. I’ll have to post a photo of what it looks like from any other vantage point to show you its less than ordinariness in a future entry.

Below is the description, for those who can read Japanese, of this torii gate. I looked at the torii, read the sign, looked at the torii again, and then wondered what all the fuss was about.

The sign basically says that the torii is 2.65 meters (under 9 feet) in height. It was built out of stone in the Edo Period, 1651, and is the oldest one left in the city (no surprise there). There is also a brief bio on the person who donated it, Ishigaya Sadakiyo (石谷貞清), who was apparently a famous warrior/governor.

The most interesting thing, in my opinion, about this torii is the rope (shimenawa) across the front. There are several variations, but typically shimenawa looks something like what you see in the bottom photo in this post. This one had a rare, rigid, straight style (with none of the usual white paper-gohei–hanging off of it) which I haven’t seen before or since.

Wedded rocks (meotoiwa or 夫婦岩)

ocean rocks wedded rope sea of japan 双子岩

Today we have another picture that Ryan took when he visited Kanazawa. I’m not sure the exact location of these rocks in the Sea of Japan, but Ryan says they were between Kanazawa (金沢) and Wajima (輪島).

Update: We just got back from visiting Ishikawa Prefecture. During the trip I found out the name of these rocks is Hatagoiwa (機具岩) in Shikamachi (志賀町).

Foot-loose in Tokyo

foot-loose in tokyo jean pearce I recently picked up Foot-loose in Tokyo, not because I thought it would be useful (due to when it was written) but because I thought it would be fun to see what things were like along the Yamanote Line in the 1970s. The funny thing is many of the things the author, Jean Pearce, thought would quickly disappear are still here and many that were thought to be permanent fixtures are long gone.

The book is very interesting to read even though the contents are so dated. Perhaps the fact they are so dated makes it an even more enjoyable read. I read the whole book on the train (the Chuo Line, not the Yamanote Line) one day. The contents changed the way I think about many of the Yamanote Line stops.

The entry for Takadanobaba shows surprisingly few differences from the book’s era until today. Big Box, Omokage-bashi, Mizu Inari Jinja, Waseda University, Kansenen–all are the same today, decades later. One entry caught my eye, dealing with an ancient tree on a street I walk down nearly every day. I had no memory of seeing this ancient tree so I figured, as did the author, that the tree’s location had turned into a parking lot or apartment building in the ensuing years.

“You may see the tired remains of what was once a majestic old shiinoki (sweet acorn) tree which in other days was encircled by a Shinto rope to commemorate its venerable age, said to be more than 500 years…

Years ago there was a five-story pagoda here. It was destroyed during the wartime bombings; only the trees remain. The property is presently a parking lot, but once it belonged to a daimyo family.” (p. 114)

So I looked for the majestic old shiinoki and, in so doing, discovered that what was always there I had never before seen. Sure enough, it still fills the corner of a parking lot and probably goes completely unnoticed by the vast majority of people who pass. There is no sign (as there frequently is in Japan) commemorating its age or history. The Shinto rope (shimenawa) is back up and around its trunk however. A sake offering rests at its base.

椎の木 シイノキ

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