Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hatsumode, January 1st, Nagaokakyo

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Hatsumode is the Japanese custom of the first visit of the new year to a shrine or temple.

We were up in Kyoto visiting Yoko's family, and our first visit was to Nagaoka Tenmangu, a big, and therefore popular shrine.

It was late afternoon, and still the line waiting to get to the shrine was over 400 meters long.

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Most of the bigger shrines will hire many temporary miko to help out over the new year period. For these shrines Hatsumode supplies the biggest chunk of their annual income.

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Next we headed to Hashirita Shrine, the local shrine for my sister-in-law's family, nestled on the hillside above Nagaoka. It was a far more intimate and friendly affair.

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Every small altar within the grounds had their own offerings.

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Around the other side of the hill a small, unmanned Inari Shrine.

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We walked further along the edge of the bamboo forest and as dusk settled visited Komorikate Shrine where I was able to chat with 2 older gentlemen from the shrines ujiko (parish group) about the history of the shrine that was moved here from Nara when Nagaoka was the capital of Japan.

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Each year a local man makes a sculpture out of bamboo of the new years animal. Behind this years rabbit you can see last years tiger and 2009's boar.

9 comments:

  1. Stunningly beautiful sculptures.
    There's a magic atmosphere in all your photos.
    Thank you.
    _/|\_

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  2. Love it! Those bamboo statues are adorable. New Year's at the shrine is the best! Great post

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  3. That last photo is really nice. Sort of reminds me of the baby new year in front with a series of old father times fading off in the distance.

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  4. I really like the idea with the bamboo statues. Statues from how many years are there?

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  5. Thank you Jake for a wonderful year of posting about a subject that many of us enjoy (and in a way that inspires and brings joy to us all). Have a great year!

    akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

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  6. Thanks Ben. All the best to you and yours for the coming year

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  7. Hi Matus
    Just those three were there

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