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  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Banner on main gate of Ikuta Jinja
    Ikuta Jinja - Banner on main gate of Ikuta Jinja

    This banner advertises an upcoming festival, on July 15th, that will feature the lighting of a thousand lanterns, the rope circle through which one may walk (chinuwa kuguri), and a purification rite aimed at "countering obstacles, eliminating illness and vanquishing troubles."

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Amulets
    Ikuta Jinja - Amulets

    Most of the amulets (o-mamori) shown here are for success in academics, either for good grades or for passing an entrance exam into the school of your choice. The prices here, which are more or less standard, range from 500 to 1000 yen (from $4-$8).

  • Thumbnail for Prayer strips in Tamagawa
    Prayer strips in Tamagawa

    From the bridge over the Tamagawa stream that leads to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum one can see these wooden strips suspended above the stream so that the current washes across the bottom of the strips. On each strip is written the name of someone deceased, and the pure waters of this stream are said to purify their spirits wherever they may be in their afterlife journey.

  • Thumbnail for Bathing statues in Okunoin
    Bathing statues in Okunoin

    These are the same statues as in cocrejpn0182. The most visible is a standing Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion. To the right is visible the Tamagawa stream, over which the bridge in the background takes visitors to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum.

  • Thumbnail for Bathing statues in Okunoin
    Bathing statues in Okunoin

    Each of the deities in this line of Buddhist images receives water from the ladles of numerous visitors. They also receive an occasional cap and bib.

  • Thumbnail for Statues near Okunoin
    Statues near Okunoin

    Near the main shrine at Okunoin people stop to pray before, and pour water over, these Buddhist images.

  • Thumbnail for Prayer strips in Tamagawa stream
  • Thumbnail for Street Offering
    Street Offering

    A container which is used to burn offerings during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

  • Thumbnail for A classic altar for the deities
    A classic altar for the deities

    A classic altar for the deities

  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, Hachiman Shrine, Morioka
    Shinto shrine, Shichigosan Day, Hachiman Shrine, Morioka

    As described in image 000058, this young boy has been brought to the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka, for the celebration of Shichigosan, Seven-five-three Day, when prayers are offered for the good fortune of girls who are seven or three years old and for boys who are five years old. This young lad, hoping that his father takes the photo quickly, because the sun in his eyes is bright, is dressed in his best formal traditional dress.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 018,  Kanjodo, Initiation Hall, detail, front exterior
    Muroji, 018, Kanjodo, Initiation Hall, detail, front exterior

    Detail of the central bay of the Kanjodo at Muroji, showing part of the public portion of the hall. Included in the photo are the large vessel in which one may place a stick of lighted incense, the wooden offeratory box to the right of the incense vessel, and the container of sticks for fortunes on the right (see image ecasia000035).

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child sitting in the balance
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child sitting in the balance

    This child in her finest dress and blud scarf sits patiently in the metal crate of the balance as she is weighed against the bags of sweetbreads to be distributed to the community. Following a custom widely practiced in all religious communities in South Asia, the girl, as the primary participant in the ritual, wears a garland of fresh flowers.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child balanced with sweetbreads
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child balanced with sweetbreads

    The child dressed in a beautiful peach dress and blue scarf sits patiently as her weight balances the sweetbreads on the other side, determining the contribution of her familiy to the community. [See cbind0043 for description of this Thanksgiving Ritual.]

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child

    At this shrine, couples pray to the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh, for his help in conceiving a healthy child. When the child is old enough, the couples promise tol return and make an offering of thanksgiving. This ritual consists of distributing sweetbreads equal in weight to that of the child. To determine this weight, two metal crates are balanced by a rope hanging over the limb of a large tree in the courtyard of the dargah. Often travelling from great distances, families dress in their finest clothes and bring many family members to share in this festive celebratory ritual.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, mothers and children waiting for ritual
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, mothers and children waiting for ritual

    These women are holding their female and male children as they wait to perform the ritual of thanksgiving. Many women visiting the shrine note that the prayers of women offered at the dargah are understood to be more efficacious than those of men. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, ritual ablutions before prayer
    Aurangzeb Mosque, ritual ablutions before prayer

    Before praying, all Muslim worshippers must purify themselves by performing ritual ablutions. Mosques provide fountains or individual water spigots so that each person can carry out this ritual cleansing.

  • Thumbnail for Buddhist Bouquets
    Buddhist Bouquets

    Word to the wise, don't buy this bouquet for your date. It's for Buddhist altars only.

  • Thumbnail for Shinto shrine customs
    Shinto shrine customs

    Left corner: Shinto priest offering prayers of celebration (norito) to the gods. Right: Fires to be used at shrines is created the natural way. Top: Miko (shrine maidens) originally played an intercessionary role between man and the dieties, reaying the divine will. Here they assist a wedding.

  • Thumbnail for Yasaka Shrine Celebration, 2
    Yasaka Shrine Celebration, 2

    Priests ring an enormous bronze bell during a celebration at Yasaka Shrine.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera
    Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera

    A woman unrolls a scroll painting of the bodhisattva of compassion Kannon purchased at the temple. She will eventually fill the spaces surrounding the image of Kannon (white head visible just below large wood block) with inscriptions by temple priests from various temples she intends to visit in the future.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - An ema with a wish
    Ikuta Jinja - An ema with a wish

    This ema, written in an accomplished calligraphic style, reads, " For the curing of illness -- [Name] -- December 26, 1957. Please, somehow, help."

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - An ema with a wish
    Ikuta Jinja - An ema with a wish

    This ema reads, "May my family be happy and live joyously and brightly. May we all be happy."

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Prayers for college entrance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Prayers for college entrance

    The petitioner asks specifically for success in his applications to six universities, the first two spelled out nearly in full and the last four in extreme shorthand (either for lack of space or as an indication of lessened importance), that is nonetheless recognizable for any one who lives in the greater Kansai (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto) area. The ema includes the date and the petitioner's name and address.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze statues of Jizo and other deities
    Bronze statues of Jizo and other deities

    Near the main shrine at Okunoin people stop to pray before, and pour water over, these Buddhist images.

  • Thumbnail for Burning barrels
    Burning barrels

    Two red barrels that are used to burn offerings. The ash is visible on the ground around the barrels.