Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday in Tokyo

People who want to offer prayers at the Asakusa Kannon Temple file into the temple beneath a giant lantern.

In front of the main temple people gather around a big pot of smoking incense and fan the smoke toward themselves for good luck.

The entrance to the Yasukuni Shrine, where 250,000 spirits from several wars have been enshrined. The giant gate at the entrance (in the background) is found at every Shinto Shrine (although usually much smaller). It represents the border between our world and the spirit world. You should always pass through the gate on the left side or the right side, not the middle, because that space is reserved for the spirits. Or God. Or someone with a similar skill set.

Also, before you pass through the Shinto gate, you should purify yourself here by washing your left hand, then your right hand, then your mouth, holding the cup in a certain way, then draining the water out of the cup in a certain way that washes the handle. Our guide prefers to pretend she put some water in her mouth. The Shinto religion is super flexible.

Another view of the burning incense pot in the Temple courtyard.