Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gokoku Jinja Hatsumode

As I mentioned in the post on the first shrine visit of the year at Terukuni Jinja, the Hatsumode period (the time during which people will make that first shrine visit) can be up to 2 weeks into January.

There's a second shrine, called Gokoku Jinja, about 2 miles from Terukuni, in the direction of the main freeway entrance in this area. I've been there a couple times, and it dates at least back to the time when local hero Saigo was a kid (early 1800's). I was wondering if there were any big differences between how the two shrines celebrate the New Year, so I walked over on Jan. 11. One of the first is that there aren't any food or toy stalls along the road leading to the main grounds. The second is that they have free amazake (sweet, unfiltered sake that is served hot). Unfortunately, they ran out just about the time I arrived.

A guardian Foo Dog, with fortunes tied on the strings in the background. I was surprised to see that some of the fortunes are on gold paper, which I haven't seen before.

Front of the main shrine. The boxes on the tables are fortunes, for about 100 yen each, sold on the honor system.

Looking into the main building. The white buckets immediately in front of the camera are where you throw money in before praying for good luck for the year. Traditionally, you're supposed to toss in a coin with a hole in the center, such as 5 yen or 50 yen (5 cents or 50 cents), but some people will throw 1000 yen or 5000 yen bills instead.

A peek at a ceremony being conducted inside for the more faithful.

More lucky charms on sale. White arrows are always popular at this time of year.

The back of the sheep signs at the entrance torii. It was an overcast day, making for rather dreary pictures.

Close ups of the writing. It reads "Where ever you go, there you are. You might as well get used to it, because this part is never going to change."

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