Shinto Shrine and Japanese People

Hakone Shrine

The Hakone Shrine is a popular and historical shrine on the shores of Lake Ashi in Hakone. The shrine has a history of more than 1000 years.The origin of the shrine starts during the Nara period in 757 when the priest Mangan had a dream inspired revelation.The shrine has been popular with samurai, celebrities, and travelers for centuries.It is known as a spiritual place that enshrines spirits that guard the Kanto area. The shrine welcomes many people who come to the enshrined spirits that help with health, transportation safety, marriage, and other wish fulfillments.

Shinto Shrine and Japanese People

There are many Shinto shrines throughout Japan. Each shrine has been revered by the inhabitants of the area since its establishment, and has kept close contacts with the local community.

Deeply indebted to the blessings of nature, Japanese people came to acknowledge its spiritual powers that brought forth life, fertility, and prosperity. Spirits of nature dwell in all of nature, and bring joy and bounty to our lives. Mountains, deep valleys, and the wide ocean are viewed as dwellings for the spirits of nature. Other natural objects such as majestic trees and special rocks are considered to be symbols of spirits of nature as well. Through this intimate contact with nature and the spirits of nature, Japanese people have continued to respect and draw inspiration from its spiritual beauty. At the same time, Japanese people have long revered their ancestors who contributed enormously to the goodness of society.

At various turning points in an individual Japanese person's life, visits are made to a shrine to pray for divine protection and to give thanks for the deities' blessings. These rites of passage for the Japanese begin with hatsumiya mode. This is a ceremony celebrating the first visit of a new born baby to a shrine to be recognized by the local deity as a new member of the community. The next is a festival called shichi-go-san. Boys at their fifth year, and girls at their third and seventh year, visit a shrine in order to report their healthy growth and to receive divine blessings.

Special rites of purification and blessing are also sought at the time a young person reaches his or her maturity. The most radiant occasion in life, however, is the marriage ceremony, when the bride and groom exchange ritual toasts of sake in front of the deity and pledge their vows as husband and wife. Rites of purification and prayer are held on many other occasions as well. Through the repetition of such life-cycle rites, Japanese people seek a way of life full of peace and joy in communion with the spirits of nature.