Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A day in Nezu, Bunkyo, Tokyo, Part II

After having a delicious kamameshi lunch and taiyaki snack, T. and I walked over to Nezu Shrine famous for Tsutsuji Matsuri (Azalea Festival) during the month of April.

This Shinto shrine was really quite a gem! The place was beautiful, and since we went on a week day hardly anyone was there. So we wandered around at our leisure without feeling rushed or crowded.

The shrine mystifies me a bit. Take a look at the temizuya below, the water fountain from where you're supposed to scoop water to rinse your hands, face, and mouth prior to entering a Shinto shrine.

Here's a closer look. See that svastika? When I first time saw it I did a double take and then I asked my friend T. if this was a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple. "Definitely a Shinto shrine," T said.

I mentioned in my Kiyomizu Dera post that it's not unusual to see a Shinto shrine within a Buddhist temple ground, and likewise there are small temples within a Shinto shrine ground. But now it seems the two religions are physically blending. Being super confused I consulted my knowledgeable friend K. and she pointed me to two articles detailing just that, the blending and mixing of Buddhism and Shintoism: Shinbutsu-shugo (神仏習合) via Wikipedia and another write-up via the Japan Times. Fascinating, right?

K. also kindly enlightened me that these stickers on the pillars and ceiling of the temizuya are senjafuda, worshipers and visitors alike who leave their names behind to receive the god(s)'s divine protection and benefits. For example, at the temples and shrines near geisha districts in Tokyo and Kyoto, there would be many stickers bearing the geishas' names.

Roofed fence surrounding the shrine, not covered corridor.

Again, more svastikas on the ends of the squared entrance gate beams, which confused me greatly.

Even more svastikas on the ceiling beam!

In the back of the shrine, there's a small path of toriis, just like that at Fushimi Inari Taisha only much smaller.

The torii path led me and T. to smaller shrine overlooking a koi pond.

Leaving the shrine, we found yet another small, and much older and weathered, inari shrine.

Looking up where we just were.

See my previous A day in Nezu, Bunkyo, Tokyo post.

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