Friday, September 12, 2008


Day 10 (-21)
I love the use of banners and flags in Japan. En masse they create a great celebratory look. And lanterns as well and it's a festivity!

The main entra
nce to Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine originally fronted the ocean, but landfills over the centuries have put the shrine further away from shore. The large Tori leads up to the main shrine. This is the shrine of the festival I went to last month and two of the Mikoshi are housed in a glass fronted building here.
This is Tokyo's major "Hachiman" (associated with martial arts and strength) shrine. Sumo buffs visit here to see Japan's champion wrestlers honored--the wrestler's names are etched on a historical monument named the "Yokozuna Stone."(below right)
The statue near the entrance is of of Ino Chukei(1745-1818), Japan's first geographical surveyor and cartographer. He helped to produce the first accurate map of Japan. Ino lived in Fukagawa and before he went off to survey Japan, he always first came to this shrine and prayed. He had studied astronomy, geography, and mathematics and using his own money at first, he drew a very accurate coastline map of Japan and later, the government recognized the importance and accuracy of Ino's work and increased its support. What was amazing was he did all this when he was well past 50. Now there is inspiration!
There were a lot of people coming and going including this group of school children who were finishing up as I arrived. A business man came walking past he was drying his hands, having washed first. He then put his briefcase and laptop bag down on the step and followed the prayer process. Two bows, two hand claps a prayer with hands joined then one last bow. He was followed by a young woman with a cat in her bag. I was curious as to what they might have stopped in to pray for.

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