One-Thousand-Day Worship & Physalis Market
23 – 24 June 2016
You may perhaps be surprised to find a natural wooded hill (25.7 meters altitude) right adjacent to Toranomon, Tokyo’s central district of business and politics. Located on top of the hill is Atago Shrine, built in 1603 by order of the first shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, to enshrine a deity of fire protection.
The shrine attracts a number of visitors, in particular for its One-Thousand-Day Worship (“sennichi mairi”). They say that by paying homage to the shrine’s deity (or deities) on that day, one may acquire a merit equal to a thousand visits of the shrine!
In front of the main hall, a “chinowa” (a ring made of grass) is erected. Visitors purify themselves (symbolically, if you will…) by passing through it. They also get rid of ill-health and misfortunes by “transferring” them onto a small human-shaped piece of paper called “katashiro” (to be purified by the shrine’s priest at a ceremony held on 24 June 2016 at 11 am).
In parallel to the One-Thousand-Day Worship, a physalis market is held in the shrine precincts, a tradition going back to the Edo period (the shrine boasts the market as the original, which was only followed by the now larger and more famous one held at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa). The plant with papery flowers is ornamental, and used to be valued for its medicinal virtues.
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