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Jinja in the Spring

I thought I’d do a very simple post with some photographs I took recently (over the last couple of weeks) of jinja and other Shinto things near my home.

A small stone column, with a bundle of straw and a small cup set in front of, and two bamboo sticks bound together with a shimënawa in front.

This is a dōsojin, which used to stand at a junction of roads at the edge of a field, but now stands at the side of the car park of an old people’s home. It was preserved when the facility was built, although it is no longer possible to have the annual bonfire of new year decorations next to it.

The dōsojin are paired kami of the roads (the name means “road parent kami”), and are represented by stones, sometimes carved to resemble a man and woman. This one is not, as you can see. The bamboo, shimënawa, and offerings are there, I think, because it was spring equinox — they are not always there.

A small Shinto jinja in the grounds of a private house, with a red torii, partially hidden behind blossoming cherry trees.

This is a small jinja in the grounds of a private house, next to a park. It is partly hidden by the cherry blossoms, but the red torii, and the fact that it is the kami for a private house, suggests that it is most likely to enshrine Inari.

A view of a Shinto jinja from outside the torii. The shimënawa is visible in the foreground, with blossoming cherry trees, the inner torii, and the sanctuaries in the background.

And this is Shirahata-san, from outside the first torii, with the cherry trees in bloom.

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3 thoughts on “Jinja in the Spring”

  1. Very nice!
    Is that private jinja with its own torii served by just the owners or do they have to have a specific priest? I’m trying to draw a parallel with wealthy families in the West that had private chapels but as church law states, must be served by an ordained priest.

    1. Religion is almost completely unregulated in Japan (as guaranteed by the constitution), and if something is not a religious corporation, there are really no rules. Thus, these jinja do not need a priest, although I believe it is not uncommon to invite the local priest to perform some of the ceremonies there. That is up to the people who own the jinja, however. These days, it is quite different from historical private chapels in Europe.

      Glad you liked the photographs, and thank you for the comment.

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