shinto

Japan’s top 3 rock “power spots”

The Japanese have long had a fascination with rocks. In fact, rock worship is an integral part of Shinto, Japan’s original religion. Iwakura (sacred rocks) can be found all over Japan. Rocks can be found in any Japanese garden, whether as stepping stones or objects of admiration themselves in dry landscape gardens or Zen rock gardens. One thing is for sure: Rocks are an integral part of the Japanese psyche.

So it’s no wonder that sacred rocks are popular among the Japanese as power spots. By harnessing the energy of these rocks, the Japanese are rediscovering their roots and the power of nature. But before we tell you about the three top rock power spots in Japan, we investigate how these monoliths and boulders gained their rock star status. Our rockin’ reporter uncovers the history and folklore of iwakura in Japan and gives suggestions on how to access the power of these rocks!

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Divine prevention – Japan using Shinto symbols to combat litter and public peeing

One of the trickier questions to answer about Japan is whether or not it’s a religious society. On one hand, the ideas of daily prayer, weekly visits to a temple, or consulting religious texts or advisors in times of personal crisis are about as foreign to most Japanese people as playing a game of cricket or eating a plate of grits and gravy.

Still, spiritualism is a big part of life in Japan. Most visitors to a shrine might not spend more than a few seconds reflecting on their place in the universe, but they’ll still toss a coin into the collection box in hope of pleasing the deity said to make its home there. Even as many Japanese people claim to have no religion, most homes include an alter with a place to hang photos of deceased relatives and offer incense.

The vagaries of theology in Japan are now being turned to in an effort to curb a growing problem in many neighborhoods, as people are putting up small versions of the torii gates that mark Shinto shrines to prevent people from illegally dumping waste, whether produced by their lifestyles or bodies.

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Omiyamairi: How Japan welcomes babies into the world

In Japan, there’s a saying that goes: “Japanese people are born into Shintoism, get married as Christians and die as Buddhists.” Usually it’s meant to be a comment on Japan’s laissez-faire attitude towards religion. However, having experienced all three of these life events in Japan, it’s a surprisingly accurate aphorism.

In the case of birth, after one month it’s common practice in Japan to take the baby a Shinto shrine for its Hatsumiyamairi (literally “first shrine visit”) often shortened to Omiyamairi. Like weddings and funerals, these ceremonies can differ greatly depending on the region, so I thought I’d share my own recent experience at an Omiyamairi to shed some light on this lesser-known Japanese tradition.

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Serial Tree Killer on the Loose in Western Japan, 14 “Sacred Trees” Poisoned So Far

Scattered across the landscape of Japan are Shinto shrines of various shapes and sizes.  In many of the larger shrines you’ll find one or more especially old trees known as Goshinboku which means “sacred tree.”

Sacred trees are usually massive in size and centuries old with some reportedly over 1,000 years old.  You can usually tell them from the shimenawa wrapped around their trunks. A shimenawa is an extremely thick rope which encloses something holy and wards off evil from outside.

These age-old trees are beautiful specimens of nature’s strength and longevity and add an extra level of serenity to their shrines.  However, in the past month someone or some group has been killing off these sacred trees of shrines in 5 separate prefectures in Japan’s mid-west.

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