Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Atsuta Shrine

The Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya was built by the widow of Yamato Takeru who lived around AD 400. Prince Takeru also had a holy sword which he got from his aunt Yamato, the high priestress of the Ise Shrine. The god Susanoo found this sword in the body of the great eight-headed serpent. Kusanagi, which is the name of the sword, is supposedly held in the Atsuta Shrine. However, nobody since the 7th century has access apart from the high priests, so nobody knows how it really looks,or if it exists at all. The shrine was moved to its present location. It also venerates several great gods and goddesses.
Anyway, Atsuta-sama (another name for the shrine) was the largest shrine complex I have ever seen. A huge prayer hall, several smaller shrines, a treasure hall, a Ramen restaurant, an artificial lake, and, and, and. It was huge. Here some photos from the shrine:

The prayer hall

In the hall just happened a yakuyoukei ceremony, an elderly lady explained to me. It must have something to do with a healing ceremony. I didn't quite get the details ;) but it was awsome, an orchestra of 'men in black' played some monotone music and some richly clad young women performed a fan dance, very impressive. 

The necessary cleansing before entering the shrine

A bridge in the shrine area

A Dogu Statue - I was delighted :)

A sacred tree with wishes bound to it

Stones in the pond arranged to look like a turtle and with real turtles sitting on it

 A real one

A spider net in a tree

A serpent (not eight-headed)

A koi

and a stone lantern

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