2010年03月07日

A "Maneki-neko", a figure of a beckoning cat, is said to be born at the "Gotoku-ji" temple, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.

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A "Maneki-neko" often sits by the entrance of a retailer or a restaurant in Japan. because this figure is believed to bring friends, money or a good fortune. A cat in Japan was regarded as a beneficial animal in that it preyed upon mice whose favorite was silk cocoons essential for the sericulture in former Japan. Accordingly, this pretty animal has been thought to be a lucky existence since. By the way, the " Gotoku-ji" temple in Setagaya is said to be the birthplace of the "Maneki-neko" figure. Early in the Edo period in the 17th century, a feudal lord who happened to pass by was led into the temple precinct by a beckoning cat which belonged to the chief priest of the temple. Right after he proceeded, the nearby tree where he had stood was struck by lightning. He was greatly pleased with the good fortune then offered a lot of money to the temple. The chief priest made a figure of the beckoning cat after the death of his cat to express his thanks to it. This story shows the origin of today' figure of a beckoning cat and many believers pay a visit to this temple to put the figures on the special shelf shown in the picture with their wishes.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:24 | Tokyo-shrines and temples | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年02月21日

I highly recommend that the foreign tourists who don't have enough time to visit Japan's old places like Kamakura or Nikko, should go "Nezu-jinja" shinto shrine in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

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The 5th Tokugawa Shogun, Tsunayoshi, offered "Nezu-jinja" shrine in 1706 to celebrate the achievement of the nomination for his successor. There are a few old wooden buildings in Tokyo in that she has undergone many earthquakes, conflagrations and war damage since the Edo period in the 17th century. However, This shrine and the affiliated shrine in the pictures are the only exception which remain in a condition as near perfect as the original. Most buildings, from the gates to the annexed shrines, are standing as long as more than 300 years and seven structures out of them are designated as important cultural property. If you visit here in early summer, beautiful azalea flowers will certainly welcome you into the ground. It is very easy to reach this shinto shrine by Tokyo Metro subway from any place in Tokyo within less than 20 minutes.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:22 | Tokyo-shrines and temples | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年02月20日

A Large incense burner that sits right in front of the main hall of "Senso-ji" temple in Asakusa has a magical power?

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A Large incense burner seen in temple grounds in Japan is believed to have many powers. Various kinds of incense burners which emit a strong but agreeable smell are widely used at many religious sites in the world, including some sects of Christianity. Japan's typical incense burner in the picture was introduced from India by way of China and Korea in the 6th century. This was invented in India in order to camouflage the odor of worshiper's body with strong smell, thereafter in the course of its spreading into Japan, the function had been gradually transformed. Japanese people put more importance on the smoke than the smell. The smoke from burners which rise into the sky and spread out horizontally is thought to be a visible mercy of god. Thus, it comes to be believed in Japan that applying the smoke onto the ailing part of the body works as a miracle ointment. In the entrance exam season, early in spring, test takers earnestly put the smoke onto their head praying for their success.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久。

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posted by masahisa at 13:47 | Tokyo-shrines and temples | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする