Saturday, March 13, 2010

生田神社 Ikuta Jinja #4

The honden or main hall which is the most sacred building at a Shinto shrine and intended purely for the use of the enshrined Kami, usually symbolized by a mirror or sometimes by a statue. The building is normally in the rear of the shrine and closed to the general public. The couple seen in this photograph are actually in front of a part of the main hall called the heiden or hall of offerings where all shrine visitors will come to pay tribute. I met some nice folks that walked me through the ritual common to Ikuta (there may be variation in how basic visitation is preformed based on location, time of year and holidays) which includes approaching the shrine, leaving a donation in the slated box, ringing the large bell prior to prayers, a sequence of bows, and 2 claps holding the third and putting your hands together in front of your heart for a closing bow after your prayers.

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