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  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Subsidiary shrine at Kashima
    Kashima Miya - Subsidiary shrine at Kashima

    There are often multiple places for worship within a compound. This small shrine also has an offerings box to the right.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Fudo image
    Hasedera - Fudo image

    An image of the fierce-looking protective deity Fudo-myo-o enshrined within the temple in cocrejpn0030.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon face
    Hasedera - Kannon face

    Close-up of Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Side view of subsidiary shrine
  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Right "wing" at Kashima Shrine
  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Ema board at Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Ema board at Ikuta Jinjpn

    To the right of the main hall stands this large structure on which visitors hang an "ema," or a small wooden plaque with a string on which they have written a wish. The ema are purchased at the shrine for around 500 yen (four dollars), and as the other photos show they come in different styles. It is believed that placing one's wish in close proximity to the kami may enhance the chances of fulfillment.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Inside the main entrance of Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Inside the main entrance of Ikuta Jinjpn

    Just inside the first torii gate, which here is gray concrete, is this vermillion second torii. The cars parked here are likely affiliated with the shrine. If the open areas of the shrine were available for parking they would always be full in this crowded city.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Pathway to sub-temple at Hasedera
    Hasedera - Pathway to sub-temple at Hasedera

    A pathway from the main plaza leads to this sub-temple. To the right are numerous stone statues of Jizo lining the walkway. These are commonly donated, and dressed with aprons and caps, by faithful who have lost a child (usually while in the womb) with hopes that the soul will fare well.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Ema before main shrine
    Hasedera - Ema before main shrine

    Here hang the b&quoema," or tablets upon which faithful write personal wishes that they want the deity of the shrine to assist in fulfilling. These hang just in front of the shrine, which is behind and to the right of the photographer here.

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

    This ema reads, in the center, "May I find someone I really like and keep a good relationship for a long time." To the right is also written," May I find a man."

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Circle of rope at Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Circle of rope at Ikuta Jinjpn

    Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the plaque describing the reasons for placing this rope circle here!

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Central courtyard of Ikuta Jinjpn
    Ikuta Jinja - Central courtyard of Ikuta Jinjpn

    Between the large entrance gate and the main shrine hall is a large circle made of rope.

  • 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 Hasedera - Shrine
    Hasedera - Shrine

    Just behind the main plaza is this Shinto shrine dedicated to the local deity.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Chart detailing "years of misfortune" (yakudoshi)
    Minatogawa Jinja - Chart detailing "years of misfortune" (yakudoshi)

    Near a counter that sells protective amulets (o-mamori), this chart details the various ages at which men and women are thought most susceptible to misfortune in their lives. Some explanations of the reasoning behind the system rely on the pronunciation of the digits of the age: 4 (shi) and 2 (ni) sounds "shini" or death for a forty-two year old male and so deserves special care; 3 (san) 3 (san) can be read as "multiple disasters," so that a woman of thirty-three had better watch out. Other explanations suggest a more natural understanding in Japanese culture of specific periods in life when many men or women might traditionally be under a lot of biological or social stress. For one not well-versed in the traditional system, the chart is a reminder of when it might be a good time to stock up on protective charms from the shrine or, for extra caution, even to commission a shrine priest to perform a purification ritual.

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

    This ema reads, "May Bun-chan's leg [or foot] heal quickly and may he graduate without any difficulty." Imprinted on the ema to the left is a place for the name and address of the petitioner, which is given in full. The petitioner's name is female; presumably this is a mother praying for her son.

  • Thumbnail for Grave with torii
    Grave with torii

    This old grave site has a large traditional stone and the space is nicely framed by a Shinto torii. This kind of complex shows how Buddhist and Shinto forms merge easily in Japanese sensibility.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Side entrance
    Minatogawa Jinja - Side entrance

    The side gate is not nearly as elaborate as the main gate. A visitor who felt a need to make a sincere petition would likely enter through the larger main gate.

  • Thumbnail for Main gate of Henjoko-in at Koyasan
    Main gate of Henjoko-in at Koyasan

    This is just one of hundreds of such massive entrance gates to a temple in the town of Koyasan.

  • Thumbnail for Shrine along the path
    Shrine along the path

    This is the same structure as in cocrejpn0163.

  • Thumbnail for Views enroute to Okunoin
    Views enroute to Okunoin

    One of many old stone images in the forest.

  • Thumbnail for Famous three-in-one tree on path to Okunoin
  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Main gate
  • Thumbnail for Before Kobo Daishi's shrine
    Before Kobo Daishi's shrine

    The actual small shrine where Kobo Daishi's body was placed is behind the large mausoleum. These visitors stand between the mausoleum and the shrine while facing the shrine, which is to the right in this photo. The man in the white jacket is the guide, who tells them about the history of the shrine and instructs them how to pray, which they all subsequently do. In front of the shrine, there are always many fresh flowers donated by the faithful.