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New Year's at Taga Taisha Shrine, ShigaMore pictures here.
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The torches burn within seconds.
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The fire at its peak was very hot to the skin. Sumiyoshi Shrine Fire Festival, Moriyama, Shiga in late Jan.
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Sumiyoshi Shrine Fire Festival, Moriyama, Shiga Pref. on the second Sat. of January.
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Even gaijin shrine maidens decorate bamboo branches or rakes. Toka Ebisu, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, Osaka
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Budo Hajime at the Budokan in early Jan. is a real spectacle. Kendo, judo, karate, sumo, naginata, kyudo.
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Martial artists line up for free shiruko.
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Shiruko, a confection of azuki bean soup with a piece of mochi. Served free of charge to everyone at the Budokan, including spectators.
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After the aikido, falconry demonstrations were held at Hama-Rikyu Gardens on Jan. 3 as a New Year's event. (放鷹術実演) Hama-Rikyu Garden used to be where the Tokugawa shoguns and the Imperial family practiced falconry.
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They don't use the same type of falconry birds that were used by Tokugawa shoguns. They now use Harris' hawks or red-tailed hawks imported to Japan. They are highly intelligent birds and can recognize human faces.
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They allowed a few people from the audience to try falconry. This is an Italian who was lucky enough to be chosen to hold and release this hawk.
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After the demo, they showed off the hawks for photos.
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Ise Jingu Shrine's Naiku (Inner Shrine) is the main and most popular shrine at Ise. The shrine is rebuilt every 20 years and 2013 will mark the completion of the new shrine to replace the old one built in 1993.
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About 300-400 meters to the Naiku shrine, it got congested. It took about an hour to reach the foot of the steps going up to the shrine.
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Naiku shrine and torii are in sight at the top of the steps ahead. We were told that it would take more than an hour just to get up these steps. However, we could walk up the steps quickly on the right edge of the steps.
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Look how small the offertory box is at Ise Jingu's Naiku. The one at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is like half the size of a football field. Of course, Ise Jingu just doesn't have the space for it.
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I wondered how much I should donate for this sake. I just dropped a 100 yen coin and probably got 20 yen worth of sake. At Atsuta Shrine (one of Japan's Big Three shrines) in Nagoya, they have a nice big hall where they serve hot tea and sweets for Nothing like that here.
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Kemari Hajime at Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto
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Kemari Hajime at Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto
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One of the six torches carried into the shrine.
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Giant torches in Katsube Shrine, Moriyama, Shiga Pref.
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Katsube Fire Festival: Men dance in rings in front of the fire. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Karuta Hajime on the Noh stage at Yasaka Jinja Shrine, Kyoto on Jan. 3, 2011
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New Year's Day at Meiji Shrine.
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Meiji Shrine on New Year's Day
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Money in the offertory pit on New Year's Day at Meiji Shrine.
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In the past, police were hired to guard the money pit at Meiji Shrine. They also wore these face protectors to deflect the coins that fall short of the pit.
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Lots of coins that fell short of Meiji Shrine's money pit. People no longer throw money from so far away. They wait until they get to the front.
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They also had a giant maguro tuna fish on display as an offering to the shrine from a fishing cooperative.
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Coins stuck on giant tune at Nishinomiya Shrine Toka Ebisu.
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Buying New Year's decorations and charms.
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Dance by shrine maidens on New Year's Day 2005 at Taga Taisha Shrine.. Also see the 2005 video at YouTube.
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Old New Year's decorations to be burned
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Shrine maidens ready to toss the mochi at Hokoku Shrine. Another highlight of Toka Ebisu.
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Throwing mochi rice cakes on Toka Ebisu, Hokoku Shrine, Nagahama, Shiga Pref.
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Good luck mochi rice cakes. I caught two of them. The kanji character is "fuku" meaning good luck.
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Burning old New Year's decorations, Hokoku Jinja, Nagahama, Shiga Pref.
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