Power spots in Tokyo

15 Aug

What’s going on in Japan lately? These days it looks like many people are crazy about power spots. What’s so funny about it is that it’s no more than a fad. Many people who like to visit the places called “power spot” lately do visit there because those places are hot and popular now, not because they naturally liked to visit shrines for example.

My friend who likes to visit shrines and temples were just amazed with embarrassment to see way too many people in a small shrine these days, which she found was a place introduced as a power spot later. According to her she felt it so weird that those people didn’t seem to respect those places or the Gods. Some of them spoke loudly, behaved badly, dressed inappropriately for a worshipper. 😦

Reflecting power spots fad, TV programs, books and magazines like to introduce power spots one after another.
According to TBS “Ousama no brunch” some shrines in Tokyo are considered power spots.
(The woman in the show wearing a pink dress and a wig acts like this all the time for this program. So please don’t take it seriously. ^ ^)

Imado shrine
This shrine is famous for god of marriage.

The great thing about this video is that it explains manners of praying at shrines.

1) When we enter the Torii, or the shrine gate, we should avoid center position. we should step from left leg when we take a position of entering at the left side of the gate, and do with right leg at the right side of the gate. Of course we are not supposed to forget to make a bow before entering the gate.

2) Then we should wash off our hands and mouth at Temizuya.
When we do it in the right order, it will be from left hand, then right hand, and mouth (by left hand) by a ladleful of water for each part and wash off the ladle for the next person when we leave.

It’s said that Imado shrine is a birthplace for Manekineko (beckoning cat).
Manekineko that has left hand beckoning means it beckons money, while right hand beckoning means meeting a good partner. I wonder what Manekinekoduck was…^ ^;

It’s not common that the Ema is round shaped.
They put the meaning of good luck (luck is 縁 pronounced as “en”) into the circle shape (circle is 円 and pronounced as “en”).

3) We make the sounds by shaking the big bell to let the God know we came here to pray.
2 bows 2 claps and 1 bow at a praying. Clapping noise can be big enough for the God to notice it.

What makes Imado shrine power spot is these Manekineko. We are encouraged to take a photo and make it a standby screen of cell phone because that can boost our luck in love.

Omikuji at this shrine is 200yen each and is focused on love only.
They hold an “Enmusubi no kai” that single men and women meet up for tea and possibly for new romance.
We can also take Panda bus from Imado shrine to go to Asakusa for free.

Atago shrine
It’s located at the top of Mt. Atago which is the highest place in the 23 wards of Tokyo.
Atago shrine is especially famous for successful career.
86 steps of stairs are steep but they have Matsuri as in the below video every other year.

At the top of the stairs there is a shrine, a pond with many carps (The carp is a symbol of a successful career.) and a Japanese cafe named “T”. It’s said feeding the carps in the pond will encourage economic fortune.

Ekouin is a shrine highly related with sumo.
There is a tiny grave for Nezumikozou and a stone in front of it.
It’s said we can be lucky with money when we grind down the stone a little bit and bring the powder back home and keep it with ourselves.

Kirin’s opinion:
I’m not interested in what we call “power spots” only because it’s so popular now.
But it was nice I learned how to act properly at shrines. I don’t think even most of us, the Japanese don’t know exactly how to enter the shrine gate and which hand is first to be washed off. I knew 2 bows 2 claps and 1 bow at praying, but I never thought of its meaning! But don’t worry nobody will blame you even if you don’t follow our rules exactly. I guess the most important thing is not to fotget respectful attitude at any power spots and stay modest or humble against Gods or nature… What do you think?


9 Responses to “Power spots in Tokyo”

  1. Steven Stier August 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    It seems to me that although most Japanese follow the traditions of various religious ceremonies, they no longer actually believe the acts of praying or following these actions will change their lives. They only continue because they are good citizens and want to be a part of the group. It is very much the same in America. Most people only attend church for the social interaction, and to look good for family and friends.

    Or am I wrong?

    • kirin August 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

      I think you are right and I have the same opinion as yours!! Most of Japanese people including me have no religion. We follow Shinto way, Christian way or Buddhism way. Everything is mixed up, which is just like we wear Kimono as well as gothiclolita dress. But it's OK in our society. Anyone can become an instant Christian only one day when we get married at a church or church -like place.

  2. Apple August 15, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    This is very interesting!! Haha!

    I tried the online uranai in one of the shrine links u gave. hahaha!

    • kirin August 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

      Haha, that's cute~~! ^ ^

  3. Jon August 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    There is some behavior that I follow when at a shrine or temple and I'm not fully aware why I do it.

    I had been told before that when stepping through a doorway, you should never step on the dividing section on the ground. You should step fully into the entrance.

    Some temples have multiple shrines and each shrine has difference in importance. I watch the old people and see what they do, they tend to bow to all the shrines and statues. They also bow when they exit (not only when entering). I think it is okay if as a tourist you don't know what to do, but as long as you're respectful and make an effort. I don't think a god will be offended if you aren't aware, but if you act like a fool, you might incur their wrath.

    as for Inappropriate clothing, I think as long as it's not outrageous…like they're almost naked. Even if you are dressed to swim or as lolita, i think if you're making that effort, it's enough. Like you said, many people are doing this because it is a trend, so it is a shame that Japanese people are not more connected with their culture.

    • kirin August 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

      How nice you observe old people and do your best. That's very nice, I think.
      Unfortunately we are less and less connected with our traditional culture today. Especially I believe it's one of the reasons that we stopped living with grandparents. We used to have a large family from grandparents, parents and kids. At that time, kids learned many traditional things and how to behave from their grandparents.

      Now most of the family is from dad, mom and 1 child. Parents are too busy working and 1 spoiled child grows without knowing much about traditional things, how to live nicely as a human, how to make a good relationship between brothers and sisters, and etc. 😦

      • Jon August 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

        I've observed this also. Because I am only a visitor, I am able to wander the streets during the afternoon. I notice that it is always wives and mothers with children who are out during the day. The only men I see are those that are working. One weekday I saw a father playing catch with his son by their house. I thought that was very nice, but that was only once. I can only imagine, but I think for most current japanese families… the father is at work all the time, and when they come home, they do not talk to their child. I think that's terrible. I wish more japanese fathers would spend time with their children.

        I get very self-conscious as a young male when I go to the grocery store to buy lunch and there is only women shopping there…

      • kirin August 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

        In Japan, sadly it's still very difficult for working men to take a parenting leave when they have new born babies.
        Let alone, all the workers especially who work as employees to someone's company have to spend great amount of time and effort for the work. In Tokyo, many people spend more than 1 hour to commute to the company he works, which means 2 hours for commuting per day. Over time work for 2 hours everyday is quite normal in Tokyo. We work like a slave. 😦 When more Japanese fathers can spend more time with their kids, that's when they quit working outside and start his own business from home.

  4. Alloys December 7, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    It sounds funny, mostly people are doing what they do in world as a tradition that they know nothing about. They have no idea when it began and why it is done in that particular way and not the other way round. But according to me it is high time we go into a revolutionary age and try to know why we should what we do. This was so awakening, I like it.

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