The Temples of Japan
Trip Start Jul 29, 2006
28Trip End Ongoing
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There are many traditional aspects of the cutlure that still center around temples and shrines. However, these traditions are more like customs that have been passed down through the generations and have lost their original meaning along the way. Many of these customs are rooted in seemingly superstitious beliefs. For example, on New Year's Eve, my family and I visited one shrine here in Shizuoka and took part in a traditional Japanese New Year's Eve ceremony
Just this past weekend, all across Japan, shrines around the country hosted another Japanese ceremony- the Setsubun. It is a bean throwing ceremony. From what I understand, according to Japanese folklore, on February 3rd, little goblins come out and come to the houses of any little boy or girl who has been bad to take them away. So, to chase away these goblins, people throw beans around their houses and, at the Shrines, a whole ceremony is made out of the bean throwing. Now, I'm not sure why these goblins that come out would be terrified by beans- perhaps it's the protein- but this is just another example of the type of ritualistic customs and traditions that have replaced spiritual religion here in Japan. The same can even be said for some of our sense of spiritual religion in the west as well. Consider the Christian traditions of celebrating Christmas with Santa and Easter with the Easter Bunny, for example.
Even so, Japanese temples often provide a very tranquil and beautiful atmosphere and are definitely worth visiting. I, many times, find myself walking away with an unmistakable feeling of peacefulness from these temples. Anyhow, I've attached pictures to this entry of many of the temples and shrines I visited while my family was here in Japan. They're really worth taking a look at; some of these places were quite astounding.