Shimekazari is said to come from shimenawa rope which is used in shrines to mark the boundaries of a sacred area.
In welcoming the New Year, it is hung over the front of the house to mark it as a sacred space. It is also used as a lucky charm to prevent misfortune or evil spirits from entering.
In Kyuushuu, especially in the Fukuoka and Miyazaki regions, the crane is often used as a design on shimekazari. Radially spread bundles of straw are positioned to indicate the wings and tail of a crane and the part that represents the beak is often colored in red. In rare cases, shimekazari may also have a turtle design.
Since ancient times, both the crane and the turtle have been valued as animals that bring good fortune and a long life. Their design has been a fixture at celebratory occasions. Pine, bamboo and plum trees as well as treasure ships are also added to the decoration of the shimekazari, combining, strong wishes for both a happy New Year and a long, healthy life.
Shitennou-ji Temple, located in Tennouji-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, is the head temple of Wa Shuu or Japanese Buddhist sect. The principal image of Buddha is Guse Kanzeon Bosatsu. The temple is a part of Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage, the 25th temple of Settsukoku Pilgrimage and the first temple of Shoutoku Taishi Reiseki Temples.
Shitennou-ji is an ancient temple built by Shoutoku Taishi on the first year of Emperoro Suiko era (593).
Doya-doya Festival is said to date back to 827 when Shushoue, a New Year’s memorial service, first took place, and is counted as one of the Big Three Strange Festivals in Japan.
Shushoue, which starts on New Year’s Day, is dedicated to good luck for the year and to pray for world peace and rich harvests. Doya-doya Festival takes place on January 14th, the final day of Shushoue.
The festival is a majestic soul-stirring event in which young men who are divided into white and red groups and wearing only headbands and clad in loincloth strive to grab an amulet called gohei. The name, Doya-doya, came from a Japanese expression of a big crowd gathering noisily.
Even now Shitennou-ji Doya-doya is still a very well attended thriving traditional religious festival.
Takisanji Temple in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship is Sho Kannon. En no Gyoja placed the statue of Yakushi Nyorai and founded a temple in this place under the order of Emperor Tenchi in the latter half of the 7th century. The temple declined for some time in the later periods; however, it was restored by the Tendai priest Eikyu in the Hoan era (1120-1123).
In 1645, Toshogu Shrine was constructed in the precinct under the order of the 3rd Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, by which the temple was protected by the Shogunate and thrived during the Edo period (1603-1868).
The main hall constructed in 1222 is the oldest building in the prefecture. It is a Yosemune-zukuri hall with a Japanese cypress-barked roof. It was built in an eclectic style, where the architectural styles of Japan, China and India are combined. The main hall is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.
Other than the main hall, the temple possesses a lot of cultural properties including the statues of Kannon Bosatsu and Bonten, the standing statue of Taishakuten, all of which were carved by a master Buddhist sculptor Unkei and his son and placed by the priest Kanden, a cousin of Minamoto no Yoritomo, in the Kamakura period (1192-1333). They are also designated as important cultural properties.
Muro Ryuketsu Shrine is an ancient shrine in the Muro Mountains, which lie on the east side of the Nara Basin in Uda, Nara Prefecture. Muro Ryuketsu Shrine is also called the Ryuo Shrine.
Muro Temple, now in Nyonin Koya, is said to be the Jinguuji of the Ryuketsu Shrine and was also called the Ryuo Temple. The temple's spirituality continues to this day since its beginnings in the Muromachi period. At that time, Ryuketsu, the water God was worshipped and highly respected by the Imperial Court, when prayers were offered for rain.
The enshrined deity at this temple is the Takaokaminokami. The shrine, located behind the temple, holds the three Ryuketsu (Myokichijo Ryuketsu, Mochihokichijo Ryuketsu, and Sasharaebisukichijo Ryuketsu). A tradition has it that a Ryujin (Dragon Lord) lives here.
Every year on 15 October, a Fall Festival called 'Owatari' takes place, during which a male lion and a female lion cross from Muro Temple to Ryuketsu Shrine and dedicate a dance to the Ryujin.
Ryumon Waterfall is located near Ryumonji Temple in Kokonoe, Kusu County, Oita Prefecture. It is 20m tall and 40m wide.
The water of Ryumon Waterfall falls in two stages with a basin in the middle. In summer, many people come to play in the water and slide down the fall on the smooth rocks.
In the Kamakura period, the Chinese monk Rankei Doryu was officially invited to Japan and visited here. He felt that the waterfall was similar to Ryumon Waterfall in Kanan and named it Ryumon. Moreover, he founded a temple and named it Mt Kichijo Ryumonji Temple.
According to legend, a huge snake lives in the waterfall and during thunderstorm appears and winds itself around the Niomon gateway of Taiheiji Temple.
Nearby are the Ryumon Hot Springs.
The symmetry of the waterfall is especially beautiful and the area is a well-known site for viewing fall scenery. Ryumon Waterfall is a popular playground for children as well as a beauty spot.