David Chart

Forestry with Parishioners

Another article in the series about sacred forests was in the December 13th issue of Jinja Shinpō. It was written by a priest of Hiraoka Jinja in Osaka Prefecture, the original jinja enshrining Amënokoyanë, the ancestral kami of the Nakatomi and Fujiwara. In 2001, when he had been at the jinja for nine years, its umë grove was selected as one of the “100 Best Smelling Places in Japan” by the Environment Ministry. He doesn’t recall having much reaction beyond thinking “yes, it does smell nice”, but the selection got… Read More »Forestry with Parishioners

Offerings and Transaction Charges

The December 20th/27th 2021 issue of Jinja Shinpō (a joint issue for the end of the year) included an article on the new transaction charges that many banks have been introducing, and their impact on jinja. Many banks have introduced, or are about to introduce, charges for deposits (or withdrawals, but the concern is over deposits) of large numbers of coins. In most cases, it is free up to one hundred coins, but after that there is a fee that works out to ¥1.1 per coin in ideal cases. (It… Read More »Offerings and Transaction Charges

Jinja in the Snow

I was going to write a serious article about cash offerings and transaction fees today. But it snowed! So, instead you can have some pretty pictures of Shirahata Hachiman Daijin. As you can see, the autumn leaves in the last photograph I took from this angle have fallen off. The clouds have passed, so it is a beautiful morning, but the ground is treacherous. Even where the snow was cleared, ice has formed. The sun will clear that up soon enough, so the approach to the prayer hall was safe… Read More »Jinja in the Snow

Pamphlet Online

A while back, I mentioned that I had written an introductory booklet on jinja for Jinja Honchō. Unfortunately, it is only available at jinja, which meant it was inaccessible to most people reading this blog, particularly over the last couple of years. However, as part of a revision of Jinja Honchō’s English-language webpages, much of it has now been put online. It has been revised to be web pages rather than a PDF, but most of the content from the booklet is here, along with most of the illustrations. About… Read More »Pamphlet Online


“Ōmisoka” is the Japanese term for the last day of the year. “Misoka” is the last day of the month, when the moon goes into hiding (because in the old Japanese calendar, months always started on the day of the new moon), and so Ōmisoka, or “Great Misoka” is the last day of the whole year. Within Shinto, I very occasionally see “misoka” used to refer to the last day of the month, but that word seems to no longer be used in normal Japanese society. In Shinto traditions, Ōmisoka… Read More »Ōmisoka

Forest Management

The December 6th issue of Jinja Shinpō carried the second article in the series about sacred forests. This one was interesting because the topic had little direct connection to a jinja. There is a jinja in the area, but most of the forest that was being discussed is in a municipal park in Suita, Osaka Prefecture. The park apparently surrounds the jinja, so it is possible that the whole area was originally part of the jinja’s precincts, but if so the article does not emphasise it. In any case, in… Read More »Forest Management