南山大学

 

International student's Japan experience report Tour of Nagoya city

Atsuta Jingu Shrine

Atsuta Jingu Shrine has strong ties with the Imperial family, being the site where one of the three imperial treasures - a symbol of Japanese imperial succession, the legendary “Kusanagi Sword” - is enshrined. In addition to its 1,900 years of history, it is known as the second most venerable shrine after the Grand Shrine of Ise. Each year almost 8,000,000 people come here to worship.

Video Clip outining the tour’s coures

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The exit from Tenmacho Station is directly in front of Atsuta Forest. The main gate of the shrine is about five minutes from here.

All four are amazed by the size of the main gate. They are all mega-curious now -"Quick, we have got to take a look inside!"

The four make their way along the gravel pathway to the shrine. Christelle in particular is fascinated by the stone lanterns along the pathway, and is engrossed in taking photos.

Before approaching the shrine to worship, they cleanse their hands with water from the "chozuya" (stone water trough pavilion). "That’s freezing" – all four squeal in surprise!

They arrive at the shrine itself. The uniquely solemn atmosphere makes them a little nervous.

When worshipping at a shrine, bow deeply twice, clap your hands together twice, and then bow deeply once more. So…what did the four of them pray for?

The four leave the main shrine. Rick is checking out the crest of the Imperial family that is printed onto the decorative lanterns. Very fitting for a student of Religious Studies.

They move on to see the Nagatoko (the ceremonial hall) next to the main shrine. On the day they visit, there is a wedding taking place, and the beautiful sight of the bride during this ancient rite has all four spellbound.

The four check their fortunes out with “omikuji” fortune messages. Robert and Antonella are both “half-blessed,” Rick gets a “near blessing” and Christelle a "blessing."

They ask one of the "miko" (shrine maidens) about the order of luckiness of the fortunes, but she advises that it is not the order that is important, but the content of the fortune. The four compare their fortunes and luckiness. Antonella looks genuinely disappointed.

The tradition of tying your fortune message onto a tree is said to "link you to the Gods," and dispell bad luck in the process. If your fortune message is a lucky one, you should take it with you.

They visited the Houmotsuden (Treasury building) which houses over 4,000 articles, including such ancient treasures as swords, mirrors, maigaku dance masks, ancient documents, and household articles, including some which have been designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.

For lunch they try "Hitsumabushi." This dish is a Nagoya specialty, made from rice, topped with finely chopped eel broiled in a special soy sauce. The restaurant they visited is the well-known "Atsuta Hourai," located just next to the Atsuta Jingu Shrine. It’s such a popular place that there is always a seemingly endless queue of people waiting to get in.

So how is this dish eaten? It is served in a large wooden rice bowl, but the contents should first be divided into four equal portions. The first portion should be eaten as is. The second portion should be flavored with seasonings such as wasabi (Japanese horseradish), nori (dried seaweed) and negi (spring onions). The third portion should be eaten as “ochazuke” with the soup poured over the rice. The fourth portion can be enjoyed any way you like. The servings were large, but it was so delicious that Robert, Rick and Christelle all managed to devour the lot! Antonella couldn’t eat all hers, but had the leftovers put in a doggy bag to take home.


Video Clip outining the tour’s coures