2010年07月14日

Japan's many shrines observe the 'Oharae' , the ritual for expelling evil spirits, at the end of June and December, for which the 'Chinowa-kuguri', meaning passing through a circular gate made of Japanese pampas grass, is indispensable.

atago.jpg

The origin of the 'Oharae' dates back to early in the 8th century, however this time-honored ritual for the purpose of purification had rapidly developed throughout the country since the 17th century. It seems that Japanese people come to think they are able to escape from diseases and disasters by passing through the large circle made of the grass, having to do with its rampant force. The 'Chino-wa' straw circle in the picture was set up at Atago Shrine standing on the top of of the Atago-yama, the highest hill in the heart of the megapolis, at a hight of 23 meters! Unexpected placid atmosphere surrounding the decent shrine will bring a peace of mind on you.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:44 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月13日

The 'Tanabata' Festival is annually observed on the night of the 7th of July or August, when bamboo decorations are displayed in each home or in the compound of shrines or temples.

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This festival is the mixture of the event imported from China in the 8th century and Japan's native folklore. It is widely believed that 'Orihime', the weaving woman represented by Vega and 'Hiko-boshi', the cowherd standing for Altair, are able to have an only-once-a-year date on the very night. Apart from this romantic story, Japanese people decorate the branches of bamboo attached with slips of colored paper with prayers written on them. The picture shows one of the examples being on display in the precinct of Zojo-ji temple in Tokyo at the beginning of July.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久。

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posted by masahisa at 11:01 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月12日

A Chinese lantern plant is annually sold at many temples and shrines in summer when it bears bright red lantern-like fruits, which is called 'Hozuki-ichi'.

hozuki.jpg

A Chinese lantern plant is native to Southeast Asia and it grows naturally in Southern Europe or other warm places. In Japan, this pretty plant is widely used as a variety of decorations during the 'Bon Festival', having to do with paper lanterns which is thought to lead the spirits of the deceased. Since ancient times, it has been cultivated mainly as a decorative plant and so is regarded as a special feature of summer along with a morning glory.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 07:39 | Japanese festivals | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする