Skip to main content

Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

 IMG_3938
Shinto is the native religion of Japan.   In keeping in line with the theme and essence of my blog I present Sumiyoshi Taisha, which was popularized in one of Japan’s greatest novels “ The Tale of Genji,” like this curved bridge and pond for example, which are illustrated in the original Tale of Genji.  ( second pic.).
The day I went to this shrine was on a very pleasant Sunday afternoon.   There were some low flying birds soaring  overhead, wings out stretched.   The aroma of grilled  squid  and dumplings filling the air around the entrance was intoxicating for me.  Images of a time long forgotten were evoked in my mind.   Small children playing and screaming merrily around grandpa.  (“ It must’ve been a good day to be a grandpa”).   
IMG_4068
A closer look.  Bridge over water leading up to a shrine is commonly found through out Japan, which represent a portal.
IMG_3945
By the way, I chose this shrine over Shitennoji, which is the oldest temple in present day Osaka, for esoteric reasons.  I think it can be argued that shinto is purely Japanese, at least more Japanese than temples. 
IMG_3946
IMG_3947
Two national treasures making their way down the stairs give you an idea of how careful you have to walk in order to go up and own these steps.

IMG_3968
Zukuri-style, which is where two beams intersect at the top, is called okichigi , is so Japanese for me.  This is the main hall, or honden in Japanese.
IMG_3969
Inner shrine.  Beyond the partitions, where the Kannushi or shinto monk is standing, are the sacred objects, which are kept away in secret from the general public. 
IMG_3977
IMG_3976
Another example of the cross beams at the top.
IMG_4022
An authentic zukuri style shrine, one of the truest symbols of real Japan.  More forked beams.
IMG_4053
I also love the ornate designs along the roof’s main beam.  The central beam running the entire length of the roof  has small logs on them called katsuogi, which too is also native to Japan, even predating Buddhist influence.
IMG_3943
This beautiful half dog/lion is called Komainu, which is usually found around the entrance of the shrine.  It’s the guardian of the shrine.  Some shrines have half dogs, foxes, or even cats.
IMG_3959
This is called a purification trough, and they are usually located at the entrance of the main shrine.  You are supposed to wash your hands and rinse your mouth before entering the main shrine.  The neat thing about Sumiyoshi Taisha is that there are so many of these troughs located on the premises.  I must’ve washed my hands 4 or 5 times.
IMG_3981
The tassel hanging from the door is called shimenawa in Japanese, which marks the boundary to something sacred.  This rope also ward off evil spirits.
IMG_4001
What you are looking at now is called the Imperial regalia, one of three of the most important sacred tools in shinto.  The mirror in shinto is regarded as the symbol of Amaterasu, Goddess of the sun and ruler of heaven.   The mirror is called kagami.
The other two are the sword and the jewel.
IMG_4047
What you are looking at now, above, are what’s called sakaki  tate leaves which are symbolic in Shinto religious practices for display.  Sakaki trees are difficult to find outside of Japan.  For many real Japanese these leaves symbolize an abundance of energy and wholesomeness.
This is Japan.  This is the soul of Japan.

Comments

  1. Nice pics Tony!!

    I wish more people commented here instead of sites that talk about inflatable love dolls or the latest drink at 7-11. (the latter being something we ALL see if we go to a 7-11.)

    Most of the "Japan Blogging Community" are pretty pathetic and nauseatingly unoriginal.

    Props to you for showing/talking about things that most doll humping ,Kanji studying freaks never even try to see.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Chris!

    Thanks for the nice comment. I agree with you whole heartedly about the blogging community. They seem to have lost all focus on why they should even come to a foreign country. Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  





Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…