Shinto

Kotodama: Do You Believe in the Power of Words?

Do you believe that there is power in words? Words are able to hurt someone, lift a person’s spirits or make a person feel afraid, so it does not seem too far-fetched for the Japanese to believe that there are divine spirits which reside in words. This belief is known as ‘kotodama’, which literally means…

Why Does This Japanese Town Ban Cucumbers?

During the summer, cucumbers are a great treat in Japan to cool the body. They are cooling, crunchy and healthy so it seems strange that anyone would want to ban them. Nevertheless, in Fukui Prefecture, there is a town called Adose-cho where cucumbers are prohibited from being eaten or even grown. norecipes.com/ Apparently, the town…

Babies at the Shrine: Understanding Omiyamairi Tradition

There are numerous events involving shrines in Japan such as traditional marriages, the ‘Rite of Passage’ for seven, five and three-year-old kids (Shichi Go San), and the ‘Coming of Age’ ceremony (Seijinshiki) for soon-to-be adults. There is also a variety of celebrations and festivals involving local shrines.   makaranya.co.jp/ However, there is one common practice…

Osaka’s Famous God Billiken, Who Is He Really?

Even with all the advanced technology and modernity of Japan, some people still remain believers of a number of religious traditions and other such beliefs. The majority of people who have a religion are Buddhist or Shinto and especially for the old folks, they believe in plenty of gods and deities that help them with…

The Road to Hell and Celebrating Death in Japan

Heaven and Hell are common in any religion. Japan has many religions and the Japanese concept of hell is quite interesting. There are two major religions in Japan which are: Shinto and Buddhism. There are minor religions as well, such as the Ainu religion followed by the indigenous Ainu people of Japan. There are quite…

Kumano Sanzan: Japan’s Sacred Trail of Shrines

Kumano Sanzan consists of 3 grand shrines in Kumano area. It is one of the most popular spiritual areas in Japan, located in the southern part of Kii Peninsula, Wakayama Prefecture, about 100 km south of Osaka. The three grand shrines were the final destination of Kumano Kodo, an ancient pilgrimage route used for over…

Experience the Beautiful Torii Gates Tunnel at Hie Shrine in Akasaka

If you have been wanting to see beautiful torii gates (鳥居) for a long time but have not had the chance to go to Kyoto yet, the Hie Shrine (日枝神社) is a good alternative. It is located strategically around Akasaka area, in central Tokyo, between Akasaka (business district) and Nagatacho (national government building residence). Hie…

Heian Jinja: the Shrine that Celebrates Kyoto

One of the newest Shrines located outside the ancient capital, is Heian Jinja. It was built in 1895 to commemorate 1,100 years of the city. The word heian which means peaceful and tranquil, was used as official name of Kyoto (Heian-Kyo) for about 4 centuries. This Shrine is in the top list among 80,000 Shrines…

What is Shinto? Learn about its History and Importance

Many people have heard of Shinto, either by reading about Shinto shrines or through study into religions. But what is Shinto? History of Shinto Shinto is the native religion of the people of Japan, with over 80% of the population practising this belief system. The history of Shinto goes back for hundreds of years, with…

The Peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine in the Heart of Tokyo

History Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo honouring the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken. Their tombs are not here in Tokyo however this shrine was built in 1920 to honour their legacy, and 100,000 trees were planted around the shrine in their memory. Meiji Jingu is a stunning shrine to visit and…