NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/3/26


お神輿 O-mikoshi Omikoshi / Mikoshi (portable miniature Shinto shrines)

Jp En

A mikoshi is a type of portable float that the divine spirits of Shinto gods temporarily inhabit when they are transferred from one shrine to another or taken outside during shrine festivals.

Most mikoshi are in the shape of a miniature shrine. Also there are mikoshi shaped as sacred trees, phallic-shaped ones, or ones with figures on them. Usually a mikoshi weighs about 1 ton, with larger ones weighing about 2 tons or more.

The origin of these shrines is the altar made for harvest festivals, when pre-historic peoples of Japan lived as hunter-gatherers. After people settled and started to live by agriculture, shrines became the place where the gods settled. Later, the mikoshi became the vehicle for the Shinto gods, and took the well-known shape it has today.

It is believed that mikoshi spread all over the country around the Heian period, along with the belief in the divine spirits of the Shinto gods.
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2007/2/15


転法輪寺 Tenpourin-ji Tenporin Temple

Jp En

Tenporin Temple belongs to the Shingonshu Daigo Buddhist sect, and is located on the summit of Mt Kongo, the tallest mountain in the Kongo-Ikoma range in Nara Prefecture. The index of the temple's name is Mt Kongo. It was also once called the Ichijo Tenporin Temple.

This temple is a holy place for the mountain religion, and is also a training ground of Shugen for both the Tendai and Shingon sects.

Tenporin Temple was built in 666 by Enno-Gyoja (a Japanese ascetic and mystic) in order to deify Hoki Bosatsu. The Katsuragi Shrine was built to deify Hitokotonushinogami, which resulted in a sacred mountain where Shintoism and Buddhism mixed.

The mountain, which was once called Mt Katsuragi or Mt Takama in ancient times, changed its name to Mt Kongo by taking the index name of the Tenporin Temple.

Among the hills around the temple are many megaliths and ancient trees, such as fukuishi, kongogo and the meoto-sugi cedar. At the summit of Mt Kongo is an observatory, which faces Sennan. On clear days, there is a distant view of Kansai International Airport and Awaji Island.
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2007/2/14


笛吹神社 Fuefuki-jinjya Fuefuki Shrine

Jp En

Fuefuki Shrine is located in Fuefuki, Katsuragi, Nara Prefecture. The official name of the shrine is Katsuragi Niimasu Hono-Ikazuchi Shrine. Its main gods are Honoikazuchi and Amenokaguyama.

Fuefuki Shrine was established during the Jinnmu Emperor period. It is recorded in the 'Engishiki Jinmyo Notebook' which was probably made in 927.

Many musicians and fire fighters visit the shrine due to the presence of gods of music and fire. In the New Year, a dedication musical performance takes place.

Within the shrine grounds there is a natural monument, the Ichiigashi Forest, as well as giant ancient trees.
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2007/1/25


神酒口 Mikino-kuchi Mikinokuchi

Jp En

The mikinokuchi is a folk craft article that dates back more than 300 years. It is presented in symmetrical pairs within a tokkuri and placed on the household Shinto altar of each district in order to celebrate the gods. It is also sometimes seen at weddings and ridgepole-raising ceremonies for good luck or as a charm.

Although the origin of the mikinokuchi is unclear, it is believed that it may have developed from a gohei (a white decorative item used mostly in Shinto rituals), or that it is an 'antenna' for receiving a god.

Mikinokuchi are made from bamboo, cypress or paper depending on the district, but mikinokuchi from Shimoichi in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, are made from Yoshino cedar. Mikinokuchi are made by weaving thin slats of wood that are cut by a kanna and notched on the surface. They are flame shaped, which represents the wish that all evil and filth be burned away.

In Shimoichi, the mikinokuchi is burned after New Year, during the Dontoyaki (a rite which terminates New Year celebrations in Japan) in order to wish for perfect health for everyone throughout the year.
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NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - 日本語に切り替える NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - to english

"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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