Tokyobling's Blog

Kanda Myojin Hatsumode

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on March 10, 2015

Earlier this year the big Kanda Myojin between Ochanomizu and Akihabara station celebrated the usual hatsumode rituals with an appearance of the two gods, Ebisu and Daikokuten. I took these photos as I passed through the shrine and also took the opportunity to take some photos of the newest ema plaques to have gone up since my last visit! Some people really put a lot of effort into their ema! Of course all of these are destined for the big ritual pyre at the end of the year. You can read more about Ebisu and Daikokuten in this blog post from last year.

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Hatsumode at Kanda Myojin

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on January 26, 2015

This year I visited the famous Kanda Myojin Shrine near Akhibara for hatsumode – the first visit to a shrine of the year – pretty early in the day. Lots of people and the obligatory new year’s lion dance. I have seen dozens of lion dancers throughout my years living in Tokyo but the dancers of this troupe is by far the best so far. The most endearing part of this tradition is when they hold up the little kids to have their heads “bitten” by the lions, which is supposed to make for strong healthy children. The bravest ones go through it with a smile but the smaller kids often cry fiercely at the prospect, obviously these kids get the biggest cheers of approval from the sympathetic audience.

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Anime Ema at Kanda Myojin Shrine

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on January 23, 2015

I am still not sure when the tradition of self-decorated anime styled ema started over at the famous Kanda Myojin Shrine near Tokyo’s anime heart – Akihabara. Even then it is one of my favorite things to do in the new to visit the shrine and have a look at this year’s new ema. I visit quite early in the new year and since then I am sure there have been many additions, but these are some of the better ones I found. Normally you buy one of the plain ema at the shrine and write your prayer for the coming year, but some people take the extra step of decorating their own ema. All of these votive plates will eventually be consumed in a ritual fire that will help cleanse the prayers and the people offering them. You can see last year’s post on the same subject over here.

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Ebisu and Daikokuten – Kanda Myojin

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on November 19, 2014

At a festival in Kanda Myojin near the famous Akihabara district in central Tokyo I saw these two dressed up Gods from the Japanese mythological pantheon, Ebisu and Daikokuten. They are both members of the most commonly appearing Japanese God “band”, the Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神 Shichifukujin). Ebisu is the slightly crippled and deaf God of fishermen, workingmen and luck, and is usually shown holding a large fish and a rod in his distinctive hat. Daikokuten is the god of Darkness and also associated with luck and the household, especially the kitchen. He is usually shown holding his magic hammer which can tap out anything wished for. When not standing at shrines in central Tokyo he is usually seen sitting on two bales of rice, so full that mice gather around to catch what falls out of them.

It is not very common to see the Gods acted out like this at shrines and temples in Japan so I took the opportunity to catch these two fellows when they showed up. You can see other posts about Kanda Myojin and the festivals there here.

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