1000-day worship & physalis market
23-24 June 2017
Atago Shrine stands on the top of a natural wooded hill (25.7 meters altitude) near Toranomon, a major business and political district in Tokyo. The Shinto sanctuary was built in 1603 by order of the first shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, to enshrine a deity of fire protection.
During the 1000-day worship (“sen’nichi mairi”) in June, the shrine attracts numerous visitors. Tradition holds that by paying homage to the deity (or deities) on that day, one may acquire a merit equal to a thousand visits of the shrine.
Before offering a prayer, visitors may “purify” themselves by passing through the “chinowa” (a ring made of grass), specially erected at the gate of the main hall.
At this annual festival, a physalis market is also held in the shrine precincts. It was at this shrine that the physalis market was first started during the Edo period (the now more famous one, held at Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, followed suit). The ornamental plant used to be valued for its medicinal virtues.
With the lantern-shaped papery flowers of physalis, feel the arrival of summer in Japan.
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