Summer Ritual at Shinto Shrine: “Chinowa-kuguri”
When I visited my wife’s parents’ home, I also went to a nearby shrine called Kibitsu shrine.
At that time, an interesting ritual was being held.
I’m going to introduce about it on this post.
The ritual that has been held there is called “Chinowa-kuguri”.
“Chinowa-kuguri” is one of the rites of “Nagoshi-no-harae”, which is held every June to get rid of defilements for the next half year.
People walk through a big ring in the hope of preventing diseases and disasters.
This “Chinowa” is made of cogon grasses wrapped around a big bamboo ring.
This event is popular for families, not only because it is an annual event since the old days but it’s also amusing to pass through the “Chinowa”.
By the way, in the old days, people changed their clothes to new summer clothes at the same time this event is also held.
Although the design of “Chinowa” might be different on every shrine, at the shrine I visited, the “Chinowa” has “Hitogata” attached on it.
In ancient times, this “Hitogata” is used as a tool to place curse to others or as a scapegoat to receive someone’s disasters.
For example, there is an event called “Hinamatsuri” which is being held every March 3 in Japan.
This event is celebrated to pray for the growth of young girls.
The origin of this festival goes like this:
In the old days, many babies and children died.
Because of that, people used “Hitogata” as a scapegoat in order to prevent diseases and disasters for their children.
On the other hand, the famous straw dolls for cursing is an example of using “Hitogata” to place curse to other people.
※ There is a rumor that it’s still being done even today.
In this case, “Hitogata” is used the same as voodoo doll.
How to perform “Chinowa-kuguri”
- Stand in front of the Chinowa and bow once.
- Walk through the ring with your left foot and turn around the ring towards left back to the starting point.
- At the starting point, bow once.
- Again, walk through the ring but with your right foot and turn around the ring towards right back to the starting point.
- At the starting point, bow once.
- Again, walk through the ring with your left foot and turn around the ring towards left. (Same in step 2.)
- Back in the starting point, bow once.
- Walk through the ring with your left foot, but this time, go straight to the altar.
- Finally, perform the “Twice bowing, twice clapping and one-time bowing” worship manner.
Those are the steps of “Chinowa-kuguri”.
There are two key points to remember:
- When you stand in front of the Chinowa, you always have to do a deep bow.
- You have to walk through and around the ring in left-right-left order, forming a figure 8.
Please note that there might be some differences on “Chinowa-kuguri” ritual depending on the shrine.
You must not pull out and take the cogon grass of “Chinowa” with you.
This is not a matter of morality.
“Chinowa-kuguri” is a custom to transfer diseases and disasters to the “kaya” (cogon grass).
So, if you bring it home, that means you are taking somebody’s diseases or disasters with you.
About Kibitsu shrine
Kibitsu shrine in Okayama City is famous.
But this time, the Kibitsu shrine that I visited is in Fukuyama City.
Kibitsu shrine in Fukuyama City is equally huge as the one in Okayama City. It is ranked as “Ichinomiya”, the highest shrine rank in a province or prefecture.
Latest posts by murakami (see all)
- Doctor Yellow – A Special Shinkansen (Bullet Train): What’s so great about it? - September 16, 2014
- Summer Ritual at Shinto Shrine: “Chinowa-kuguri” - August 18, 2014
- I Love Konbini: Amazing Technology of Onigiri (Rice Ball) - August 4, 2014
Dog in Japan One of the very popular animals in Japanese old tales. As long as I remember, usually drawn as a white medium-size Japanese dog in a book, with a curled tail and erect, triangular ears like a Kishu dog. The dogs are always loyal, take the good men’s side. I can’t remember any […]
As noted in the history of judo, it was primarily made or developed by Jigoro Kano as a self-defense. As years passed by, it was expected for judokas to test their skills against each other. Thus, competitive judo began. History of Competitive Judo Competitive judo is a vital aspect of judo. It is where judokas […]
This will be the last part of the Shogi series. In case you missed the first posts about shogi, here they are: History and Origin, Shogi Pieces, Board and Gameplay. In this post, we will learn more about the shogi rules and strategies. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by […]
Japanese people love outdoor activities. During weekends or holidays, they will surely find ways to enjoy hanging out with their family or with friends. They usually go out for a picnic, barbecue party, camping and other sort of fun things to enjoy. Japanese also gather to celebrate the important events held within the country. The […]
Monkey in a nursery tale The most famous tale of monkey is “Saru Kani Gassen” (The Battle Between A Monkey And Crabs). Saru is Japanese for monkeys, Kani is crab. Gassen is battle, pronounced as “Kassen” when it’s used as one word, Gassen when it’s a part of a word like “Yuki-gassen” (Snowball Battle). Outline […]
Konpira in Kagawa (2) Konpira-inu (Konpira dog) in Konpira Shrine Beside a copper torii near “mimaya” (stable for “shinme”. See this post), there is a statue of “Konpira-inu”. I mentioned a little bit about Konpira-inu in my dog post. In the Edo era, it was hard for common people to travel from the east of […]
Kamishibai (紙芝居, literal meaning: “paper drama”) is a form of storytelling that originated in Japanese Buddhist temples in the 12th century, where monks used emakimono (picture scrolls) to convey stories with moral lessons to a mostly illiterate audience. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing […]
It was the summer of 2006 when I and my classmates at AOTS Training Center went on a study tour as a part of our Japanese training. We went to Miyajima Island and stayed at one of their traditional Japanese hotels. We were having some fun that night, eating Japanese foods and drinking sake (Japanese wine). […]
Japan is blessed to have four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The word setsubun (節分, seasonal division) referred to the days marking the change from one season to the next. So, originally there were four of them, but nowadays, only the day before the beginning of spring in the traditional Japanese calendar, called […]
As kids, we all played games and while living in Japan I wondered what sort of games do kids here play. Were the games they played similar to the games I used to play growing up back home? Do they also roll over the dirt, enjoy playing catch or maybe play hide and seek? Or […]