The way to pray at Izumo-taisha Shrine


Izumo-taisha shrine has over 2million visitors annually. Today, I’d like to introduce the proper procedures for praying that might not be familiar to you.

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1.

First of all, you pass the Torii gate at Seidamari Plaza and enter the pathway to Izumo-taisha Shrine. This is the door to the holy precincts of Izumo-taisha.

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2.

On the pathway, there is a small shrine on the right hand side. This is called “Harai-yashiro”(祓社), which enshrines the 4 poles of “Haraido-no-kami” (祓井神) that purify your mind and body. First, you should pray here and cleanse your mind and body.

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3.

By going downhill, you will find an arched bridge called “Harai-no-hashi”(祓橋).
From the bridge to the precincts, there is a welcoming row of pine trees that are a few hundreds years old. When you look at the trees carefully, you’ll see that the approach is split into three pathways.
It is said that the middle pathway is for Gods to pass, so people should walk on the sides. Only Shinto priests and the Imperial family could walk in the middle. Today of course, it’s opened for everyone.

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4.

About a 5 minute walk from the entrance, you’ll see the statue of “Okuninushi-no-kami” and a rabbit on the right hand side before the entrance of the precincts.

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5.

On the opposite side, there is a chōzuya, where you can wash your hands and mouth.

  1. Holding the ladle in your right hand, retrieve 1 scoop of water to wash your left hand.
  2. Switch the ladle to your left hand, and purify your right hand by pouring water onto it.
  3. Switch the ladle back to your right hand, pour some water into your left hand, then rinse out your mouth.
    (Please be careful not to touch your mouth directly to the ladle.)
  4. Finally, return the ladle to its vertical position, and cleanse the handle by splashing water onto it.
  5. Turn the ladle down, and put it back in its original position.

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6.

After purifying your hands, go to the precincts where you will find the shrine with Mt. Yakumoyama behind it, Mt. Kameyama on the east side, and Mt. Tsuruyama on the west side.
At the entrance, there is the “Kanenotorii” Gate measuring 6 meters high and 52cm in diameter.
Mōri Tsunahiro, a grandson of Mōri Motonari donated the gate in 1666 with an inscription on it that says, “日神者地神五代之祖天照大神、月神者月読尊也、須佐之男命雲陽大社神也” which basically means that the enshrined deity at the time was “Susanoo- no- Mikoto”(須佐之男命).

The way to pray at Izumo-taisha Shrine

7.

After passing the Torii gate, you’ll see the front shrine that was newly built in 1959 and is the oldest wooden Shinto architecture since World War II. Usually, worshipping in a Shrine is “ni-hai, ni-hakushu, ippai,” which means to give two respectful bows, clap twice, and then bow once more for respect, Izumo-taisha Shrine requires a special method called “ni-hai, yon-hakushu, ippai,” which means to give two respectful bows, clap four times, and then bow once more.
When you fold your hands, it’s better to slide your right hand so as to not overlap the finger joints of both hands. (The method when both hand’s finger joints are overlapped is called “fushi-awase,” which means unhappiness)

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8.

This is “Oo-Shimenawa,” a large sacred rope hung in the front shrine.
It’s 6.5 meters long and weighs 1 ton. What’s special about this rope is that it’s hung opposite to the ordinary shrines ropes for comparison. On the left hand side of front shrine, there’s Kagura hall, which has the largest sacred rope in Japan, measuring 13 meters long and weighing 4.5 tons.

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9.

If you get behind the front shrine, you’ll see the “Yatsuashimon-gate”(八足門), where you can worship at the main shrine from the front.
In between the main shrine and Yatsuashimon-gate, there’s a tower gate. The Yatsuashimon-gate is opened for 5 days on New Years so that you can visit the tower gate.

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IZUMO TAISHA

※This article is featured by “Izumo Guide,” a website introducing recommended places to visit at Izumo. For more info about sightseeing in Izumo, click here; http://www.izumo-kankou.gr.jp/ (Written in Japanese only).

●Izumo-taisha
195 Taishachō Kizukihigashi, Izumo-shi, Shimane Pref.
Hours: 6:00~20:00
Always open
Access :By car: 15 min from San’in do- Izumo IC. Driving towards R431.
30 min from San’in do-Hikawa IC. Driving towards R9.

By train:10 min walk from Ichibata Railway Izumo-taisha station.
http://www.ichibata.co.jp/railway/

1 min walk from the bus stop “Izumo-taisha” departing from JR Izumo-shi station. Take a bus bound for “Izumo-taisha /Hinomisaki”
http://www.ichibata.co.jp/bus/rosen/taisha.html

Map

195 Taishachō Kizukihigashi, Izumo-shi, Shimane Pref.

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HATSU

HATSU

Editor / Writer

I’m from Mie Prefecture, and a big fan of Yomiuri Giants, Japanese baseball team! I rarely stay at home every weekend, and love to go outside. I feel Japanese locals and the world will be connected soon! I’m trying to make a fun world!

Information

Address 195 Taishachō Kizukihigashi, Izumo-shi, Shimane Pref.
Hours 6:00~20:00
Access (By car): 15 min from San’in do- Izumo IC. Driving towards R431. 30 min from San’in do-Hikawa IC. Driving towards R9. (By train):10 min walk from Ichibata Railway Izumo-taisha station. (By bus):1 min walk from the bus stop “Izumo-taisha” departing from JR Izumo-shi station. Take a bus bound for “Izumo-taisha /Hinomisaki”