shrine

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

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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Our Reporter Learns a Thing or Two about Buying Good Luck Charms in Japan…

Our Reporter Learns a Thing or Two about Buying Good Luck Charms in Japan…

Tori no Ichi is an open-air market festival held in Japan on the day of the Rooster in November, as determined by the Chinese calendar. At the festivals, markets are set up in front of or near to Shinto shrines, and charms- most often decorated bamboo rakes called kumade- that are said to bring the owner good fortune in the coming year are sold to visitors.

Kumade literally means “bear hand”, since, when you think about them, rakes are shaped rather like a large hand with claws. Rakes were chosen generations ago as a sign of good luck since they can be used to draw things– in this case wealth and good fortune– towards us, and the practice of buying ornamental rakes has been common in Japan since the Edo period (1600-1867).

Wanting to check out the lively festival and ask for continued success for the website next year, our reporter Mr. Sato headed over to the famous Hanazono shrine in Shinjuku to purchase a kumade on behalf of RocketNews24.

However, having never purchased one of the charms before, he discovered that he had more than a couple of things to learn…

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We Visit the Shrine of the Dolls, Where Creepiness Turns to Inspiration and a Doll Has Hair that Grows

We Visit the Shrine of the Dolls, Where Creepiness Turns to Inspiration and a Doll Has Hair that Grows

Awashima Shrine is known as the shrine of “memorial dolls” (dolls given as offerings to the shrine) because of the countless dolls and figures that surround the main building and the grounds.  It stands apart from the other shrines of Japan in the otherworldly atmosphere it gives off.  Some say it has a psychic energy to it.

At the shrine there is said to be a doll with hair that grows.  Who knows if there are really ghosts in the world, but you certainly get the sense there is something “present” when confronted with these eerie yet peaceful guardians.

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