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Barrels of sake displayed for Toka Ebisu inside Hanshin Nishinomiya Station.
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Exiting Hanshin Nishinomiya Station on Jan 10, 2011.
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Ebessan-suji road going to Nishinomiya Jinja Shrine.
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Entering Nishinomiya Shrine at the Omote Daimon Gate, usually called Akamon Gate. 西宮神社表大門 通称赤門
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Along the way, there was a place where you could throw away your old Ebisu decorations.
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People on the left are leaving the shrine, while people on the right are heading for the shrine. About a million people visit Nishinomiya Shrine during Jan. 9-11.
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It's a stop-and-go process.
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But we got nearer and nearer so it wasn't so bad and it wasn't taking forever.
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Wash basin to purify yourself. Few people stopped here.
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Haiden hall up ahead. Behind it is the Honden main hall.
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Nishinomiya Shrine worships a god named Hiruko (蛭子), also known as Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. Ebisu is regarded as the god of fishermen and good fortune depicted as a rotund, bald man holding a tai sea bream.
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Nishinomiya Shrine's Haiden Hall. It took about 30 min. to get here from Akamon Gate.
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On the left was a separate entrance here to see the giant tuna (maguro).
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Entering the Nishinomiya Shrine's Haiden Hall.
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Something unique is this upside down kadomatsu decoration flanking Nishinomiya Shrine's Haiden Hall.
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About the upside down kadomatsu.
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They also waved sacred staffs over our heads as we entered the Haiden.
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After passing through the Haiden, there's the Honden main worship hall, the shrine's main building.
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The Honden had this narrow but long offertory box. Surprisingly small for a huge occasion as this.
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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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The tuna is 2.9 meters long weighing 280 kg. About the same as two sumo wrestlers.
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The tradition is to stick on coins on the tuna.
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By this time, the tuna was dry and solid as a rock. It was impossible to stick on more coins.
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Coins stuck on giant tune at Nishinomiya Shrine Toka Ebisu.
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They stuffed coins in every crack and crevice of the fish. I wonder who's gonna eat the fish afterward.
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Where the tail is cut off.
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Fruits and vegetable offerings from the local produce cooperative.
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Offering of octopus (tako).
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Scene after you exit the Honden.
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Exiting the Honden.
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Selling omikuji fortunes.
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Nishinomiya Shrine's 300-yen omikuji comes with a cute tai (sea bream).
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Ema tablets.
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Ema tablets at Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Tai sea bream display case.
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Tai sea bream pair.
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About the tai sea bream.
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Smaller shrines in Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Homusubi Shrine
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About Homusubi Shrine.
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Hyakudayu Shrine
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About Hyakudayu Shrine.
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Proceed further to see more vendors.
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Sacred dancer.
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Pay a fee to enter this little hall to be blessed with a sacred dance.
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Fuku-zasa tree branches for prosperity and good fortune sold here.
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Fuku-zasa branches cost 1000 or 3000 yen.
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Nishinomiya Shrine maiden selling Fuku-zasa tree branches for Toka Ebisu. I was disappointed that the branches were plastic and all the decorations were already on them.
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At Osaka's Imamiya Shrine (another big Ebisu shrine), the tree branches are real and you can choose which decorations to put on it.
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Compared to Imamiya Shrine, they weren't so busy selling fuku-zasa branches.
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Shrine maidens selling fuku-sasa branches at Nishinomiya Shrine's Toka Ebisu.
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Here's the cheap 100-yen omikuji line, much longer than the one for the 300-yen omikuji.
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The shrine also had numerous stalls selling Ebisu decorations.
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Ebisu decorations
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Video of Toka Ebisu at Nishinomiya Shrine, Hyogo.
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Way home
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Omikuji
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Shinmei Shrine
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Leaving the shrine was on a narrow, long path.
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House of Horros amusement even.
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People on the left are heading for the shrine, while people on the right are leaving.
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Exiting Nishinomiya Shrine.
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Very narrow path back to the station.
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Way to Hanshin Nishinomiya Station.
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Hanshin Nishinomiya Station.
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Toka Ebisu ad inside Hanshin Line train.
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Toka Ebisu banner inside Umeda Station.
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