Meiji Shrine: grounds to ring in the year

Lifestyle Dec 24, 2015

Meiji Shrine: grounds to ring in the year

by Daisuke Kikuchi

As a relatively new place of worship, established less than a century ago in 1920, Meiji Shrine was originally based around the concept of wakonyōsai — a belief that treasured the Japanese "soul," while still embracing influences from the West. Its unusual omikuji, therefore, ...

Getting the year's first prayer in

Lifestyle Dec 24, 2015

Getting the year's first prayer in

by Ryotaro Aoki

Whether we are Buddhists, followers of Shintoism or atheists, the first thing many Japanese do on ganjitsu (New Year's Day) is go to their local shrine or temple for hatsumōde, a symbolic first visit of the year. If it's not done on Jan. 1, ...

Tsunami zone volunteer becomes Shinto priest

National Feb 6, 2015

Tsunami zone volunteer becomes Shinto priest

by Maiko Sugano

When caregiver Kazutoshi Fujimoto first visited the town of Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, he was volunteering because he had heard the recovery from the March 2011 quake and tsunami was going slow. The decision turned out to be a life-changing one because it led him to ...

Ise Jingu parlays Shinto ritual into record crowds

National Dec 20, 2013

Ise Jingu parlays Shinto ritual into record crowds

Ise Jingu Shrine, fresh off its Sengyo-no-gi in October, the main event in the "shikinen sengu" ritual of transferring the deity to a new shrine building every two decades, is drawing record crowds. The number of worshippers flocking to the shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture, ...

Shinto priest blazes trail as a community activist

National Oct 23, 2013

Shinto priest blazes trail as a community activist

by Takeshi Nishide

In these challenging times, Shinto priests can't afford to confine themselves to the quiet and peace of their shrines. On a Sunday afternoon in September, Mitsunobu Okada, chief priest of Sugimori Shrine in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, was talking to a group of children as he ...