Updated: Apr 2
When you go down the stairs of the main hall, you will be surprised to find that it is much more crowded than when you arrived. That should be it, because the flow of people was blocked for about 30 minutes due to traffic restrictions.
The square in front of the grand staircase, as well as the approach street to the shrine, are packed with people. However, people who have finished worshiping go down a different route, so the way back is not so crowded.
(10) You will be eaten by a tiger on the way
On the way, you will pass through a slightly unusual sanctuary with many Jizo statues. Immediately after that, you will enter the tiger's mouth. "Huh? In the tiger's mouth?" Yes, that's right. Inside the body of a very long tiger, there is a place for prayer.
This year is the year of the tiger, so it seems that there will be special benefits. It's a straight pass way, you will be coming out from its' anu,,, I mean you can go outside.
(11) You will lose words at the solemn and slightly cheerful ceremony.
Pwooooooooo, you can hear someone blowing the conch shell. People are gathering in a square surrounded by walls, and it seems that they are waiting for something.
In the center of the sanctuary, which is bounded by ropes and paper strips, there is a place to make a fire, and people who can be seen as guru and yamabushi monks (or ascetic monks?) surround it. Visitors are waiting for the fire to start. Monks put the fire on the tip of the bamboo sticks as shown in the photo and hold it under the piled-up twigs.
It seems that no ignition agent is used, and it is taking a little time to ignite. Oh, it's on fire! As soon as I thought that a large amount of white smoke rose. One of the yamabushi monk fans with a large fan, and in an instant, a large amount of smoke rises, and the view becomes pure white. It looks like a special effect on a stage show.
Even though its wood burning smoke, it's not an unpleasant smell, but the natural smell of smoke gives me a feeling of good fortune. A large bright flame rose, and the amount of smoke became much less. This is where Yamabushi monk, who is extremely energic, appears. After waving the Haraegushi (a stick with a lot of paper for exorcism hanging) inside the smoke, he begins to wave it over the heads of the waiting visitors.
Yes, this is what everyone was waiting for. The monk uses the Haraegushi passed through sacred smoke to ward off evil spirits. The monk who plays this role is very cheerful and funny, so I was very happy to be here again this year. My companions were also purified by him, and one of them had a piece of sacred paper stuck to his head. He is a foreigner and vary tall, so it seems that literally his head was rubbed by the stick and be exorcised. He was very pleased, saying, "OMG I feel so lucky!"
You can ask for special prayers also in this area. If you buy a piece of wood called Gomagi (fire skewer), Guru will pray for you and put it into the flame. Also, some monks were praying with a gesture of cutting empty spaces around the worshipers with a sword.
I hope my article conveyed the mysterious atmosphere of the temple. In order to see the beginning of this fire burning ceremony, it is best to make a new year's visit plan according to my recommended crowd avoiding schedule. On New Year's Eve, the grounds become a one-way street, and getting to the fire burning area before visiting the main shrine may be too difficult for first-time visitors.
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