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The great master of tea ceremony Sen no Rikyu :
Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine was within the vast precints of Osaka Castle in the days of Toyotomi
Hideyoshi. Rikyû had his house in a place which is near the Tamatsukuri Park. Some of his
desciples like lord Hosokawa Echû-no-kami Tadaoki lived very near his house. Toyotomi Hideyoshi
was also one of his disciples.
The tyrant ruler of Japan Hideyoshi ordered Rikyû to commit seppuku. We can not know why
Hideyoshi wanted to execute him. Hideyoshi made a tea room made of gold, which did not agree with
the principles of tea ceremony he established. Rikyû may have insinuated that Hideyoshi had bad
taste and have made him angry.
Commemorating the 2,000th enshrining of Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine, the meeting hall " Sansyû Den "
was built. On the 2nd floor of it, there is a room for tea ceremony named " Hôgyoku An", or " Humble
cottage of Rich gems ".after the concept of the 15th master of tea ceremony of Sen school, Sen
Sôshitsu. Hôgyoku has two meanings, " Rich gems " and " prosperity of Toyotomi ".
Pilgrimage to the Ise Sanctuary( " Oise Mairi " ) ;
In old days, many people even poor people, wanted to visit the Ise Sanctuary once in his life. Ise
sanctuary was like mecca for Islam people.
The travel expenses were too expensive for many poor people. The banking systems were not
developed well, specially in the rural districts. People formed a circle or society to finance themselves
mutually for the travel to the Ise Sanctuary. It was like a mutual fund. People paid every month some
quantity of money to finance to people who have not enough money for the travel to Ise. This society
was called " Oisekô ". Some people who offered to pay higher rate of interest to the fund could
receive enough money for a travel to the Ise
Some mutual assistance funds financed people for any purposes,
for travels, for wedding expenses or others. This is called " Mujin-kô
無尽講 " in the East of Japan, and " Tanomoshi-kô 頼母子講 " in
the West of Japan.
About 40 years ago, there was one of Tanomoshi-kô in a town of
Osaka where my family lived. My mother joined it. It was an small
organization of about 12 neighbors. One who was the last to ask
for financing could earn about 10 % of interest in a year without
any banking charges deducted.
In a small village from where my parents come from, in the Ehime prefecture, Shikoku Island, even in 1930's before the Second World War, people had " Oisekô ". Very poor people couldn't pay monthly payments to joint " Oisekô " and could not travel to the Ise Sanctuary never in their life. This is what I've heard from my mother.
The financing sytems among poor people " Mujin-kô " and " Tanomoshi-kô " have disappeared.
They were replaced by loan companies called " Sara Kin " or credit companies. " Sara kin " comes
from the word " Sarariiman Kinyuu " - financing to "salary men "( salary workers ). The financing
interest is 3 - 5 times more than the banking interests. But, poor people and young people can
obtain financing more easily at a lower interest. Each loan company finance only ￥500,000 to an
individual person who can not offer to place a mortgage. Some people obtain financing from several
loan companies and buy many things on credit. The cases of bankrupts have increased among
many young people who want to spend more money than they can earn.
We must be careful about the Modern Mujin-kô which is run by swindlers. They will offer a high rate
of interest to depositors. There are no objects of investment to guarantee such secure and high
returns now. They will, sooner or later, go bankrupt and you can't get back your deposits. Some
people are blind with greed and can be easily swindled.
In ancient times, there was the road from Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine directly to the ancient capital of
Nara, and from there, there were roads to the Ise Sanctuary.
Now,. we can travel from Uehonmachi ( Osaka) to Uji-Yamada ( Ise ) in two hours and a few minutes
by the conformtable express train of " Ise-Shima Liner ". Osaka Youth Hostel Society reproduces
and sponsors the ancient pilgrimage on foot from Osaka to the Ise Sanctuary. The pilgrims leave
Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine on 28th December and walk 170 kilometers to the Ise Sanctuary.
( Photos : 11 and 12 above )
The first visit of a baby to a Shintoist Shrine " Omiya Mairi " :
( Photos5, 6 and 9 )
The traditional Japanese customs differ from region to region. They have, however, much in common.
Their etiquettes have been simplified or have changed but many basic rituals have not changed.
Some traditions, however, have been abandoned and the new traditions have been born. Even the
Imperial family has cast off some old customs and traditions. Before the Second World War, the
imperial princes and princesses were brought up being separated from emperor and empress.
The present emperor and empress lived together with their princes and a princess. Their
Majesties wanted to have an ordinary family.
Crown princes and princess Masako live with their daughter. The emperor broke a long tradition
and married a commoner and also crown prince. They live also with their daughter, princess Aiko.
There are many traditional customs and rituals, however, practiced only in the Imperial House
by the Imperial Family.
A few of the western customs like honey moon trips and exhanges of wedding rings have been
introduced into Japan. We can be flexible in practicing the customs within the reasonable bounds.
Thanks to the economic developments of Japan, many ceremonies practiced among people of
the upper class in old days are more commonly practiced among most of us. Brides and
bridegrooms can even wear the gorgeous costumes of noblemen and noblewomen of the
Heian Period at Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine.
When a baby is 31st and 32nd days old after birth in case of a boy, and 32nd or 33rd old in case
of a girl, the baby will make its first visit to the local shrine to thank the god for its healthy birth and
growing and to become a parisher of the Shrine " Ujiko ". Many parents neglect their local small
shrines and go to some larger and more prestigious shintoist shrines, but it is the local shrine
whose gods protect the local dwellers and bless the place where they live. Some people say that
it is not good to neglect small local shrines. In the frigid regions like the Tohoku district or
Hokkaido,people can postpone the date of the visit to the shrine until more warm season,if the
baby is born in winter. If the baby is born in hot summer, it can be postponed until autumn.
In Kansai areas, before leaving for the temple, neighbors will come and bless the baby giving
some money in a paper envelope to the baby.
In old days, in some regions, mothers stayed at home and did not go to the shrine with the baby.
The shinto gods like purity and cleanliness. Women just after delivering a baby was considred
The grand-mother on the father's side ( mom of the dad ) usually have the priviledge to hold the
baby amost all the way to the shrine.
Nowadays, the parents of the baby and the grand-mother on the father's side will go to the shrine
with the baby. Sometimes, the grand-mother on the mother's side and the aunts want to accompany
them. . The grand-mothers like to hold the baby, and the mother will scarecely have time to hold her
The first eating ceremony " Okuizone " :
( Photo 13 )
In the above columns, Bay Takuma Fujimoto, the grandson of the author of this article, describes
how he practiced the " Okuizone " ceremony. The ceremony will be practiced about 100 days after
the birth of the baby. In Kansai areas, they postpone the date about 20 days as they believe that
the postponement of the date will bring a longer life to the baby. In old days, Japan suffered
periodical famines because of poor crops specailly in the north of Japan. People wanted that the
newly-born baby will be well fed all through his life and its healthy growth.
The baby can have on this day its own plates, bowls and chopsticks. The baby actually has not
enough teeth grown to eat the dishes prepared. The foods will only touch the lips of the baby.
The fish called " Tai" ( bream) and red bean in the rice are believed to bring happiness and good
luck to the baby.
The stones placed on the table will express the wish of the parents so that their baby will have the
strong teeth to crush them with its teeth as soon as possible.
The ceremony of 7-5-3 ( Shichigosan ) :
( Photo 8 )
Japan is the country where infant mortality is the lowest in the world ( 3.3 death births per 1,000 live
births.) Infant mortality in America is 6.75. But, in old days, infant mortality in Japan was high. People
celebrated when their childeren became 3 years, 5 years and 7 years old. They visited the local
shrine to thank gods for their healthy growth. This celebration was called " Shichi Go San "
- 7 - 5 - 3.
In Kansai areas, we celebrate also the 13 year old birthday and visit the shrine with our 13 year old
children to thank the gods. After our children become 13 years old, we would be less worried about
the health of our children, as they passed the critical stages in their growth. The Taihei-ji Temple
is well-known in Osaka as a temple to bless the 13 year old children.
When the baby is born, the government issues " Boshi Techô - Notebook of Mother and Baby Health
Records ". The mother should visit the Health Office periodically and the health of the mother and child
will be checked and its data will be written down on the Boshi Techo.
Shintoist style wedding ceremory :
Look at the above picture of the Shintoist chapel. Many hotels have this kind of chapels for the
shintoist style wedding ceremonies. Rich people invite hundred of persons to their wedding parties,
but here olny close relatives of both families are permited to enter. Less than 25 persons, beside
a shinto priest and a few of young assistant women priests who will help proceedings of the
ceremony will be present.
In the chapel, on the right hand, the family members of a bride-groom will be seated in the proper
order. On the left side, the family members of a bride will be seated. Then, a bride and a bride groom,
match-makers ( man and his wife) will enter the chapel and will be seated. The match makers are
not actually match makers in many cases. They will asked to act as match makers only in the
ceremony. Young couple will come to know each other without match makers nor go-betweens usually
and decide to marry.
The priest and the assistant women priests will enter, accompanied with the solemn musics.
The priest shakes branches with leaves of the tree called "Sakaki " toward people of both families
to purify them from evil sprits.
The priest gives a prayer to the god. It is a solemn and mysterious prayer. The modern Japanese
can understand vaguely only 30 % of the prayer or less. It will be spoken in ancient Japanese
language free from any loaned words of foreign origin and even without any words of Chinese
origin. It was the language purely Japanese spoken by Japanese people 1,500 or more years
The next riitual is called " Sansankudo - Three Three Nine ". Three shallow cups will be prepared.
A woman priest will pour into a plate a small quantity of Sake. The bride-groom will take 3 small
sips each from 3 plates. He will have 9 sips in total. The bride will do the same things. This is the
symbolic proceedings of the wedding ceremony. " San San Kudo - Three Three Nine times "
means the wedding ceremony.
The bride-groom will swear to the god the eternal pledge of marriage.The young couple will
exchange wedding rings. This is the western custom which we have introduced after the Second
The bride-groom, bride, parents, the members of both families and go-betweens will offer branches
of the sacred tree to the altar of the god.
People, then, will exchange cups of sake to confirm the pledges of both families.
They will retire and have photos taken. Then, they will enter the room of wedding party, where
invited guests are seated and waiting for the bride and the bride-groom to appear. After some
speeches, the wedding cake will be cut by the newly wedded couple. This is also a Western
custom introduced to Japan. Everybody will sing, drink and chat after some speeches.
Many poeple believe errouneously that the shintoist wedding ceremony is a very old Japanese
trandition. However, it is relatively new in comparison to Japan's long history of marriages.
In 1900, the 33rd year of the Meiji era, the crown prince Yoshihito who would later become
emperor Taisho and princess Kujyo Sadako married in accordance with the Shintoist style.
The ceremony was performed at the Imperial Palace Shrine Kashikodokoro.
The Tokyo Dai-jingu Shrine started the Shintoist-style wedding ceremony, which soon acquired
popularity and had a firm rooting in Japanese Culture.
Now, most of Japanese people will perform the wedding ceremony in the Shinotist style. Only
a few percent of us will have buddhist or Christian wedding ceremonies. Some people will go to
the Hawaian Islands, Guam and American mainland and they will have Christian style wedding
ceremony there. They are, however, not Christians. Any gods who would bless their weddings will
be appreciated. We are flexible-minded and polytheists.
The Japanese shintoist gods are willing to perform your wedding ceremony,regardless of your
own religions. There are generous minded. Many forei
Regarding the age of a person I have mentioned, as far as the traditional Japanese ceremonies
are concerned, it will be counted in the traditional old way. The baby will be counted as one year old
immediately after being born. On the New Year Day, Janaury 1st, the baby will be two years old.
A boy 7 years old is actually 6 years old. The age counted in this traditional way is called " Kazoe
Doshi ". Bwefore the Second World War, the age of a person was counted only in the traditional
|A few personal pictures have been taken in this web.page without being
able to obtain the
permissions of the persons involved. If you find your picture and want us to take out them,
please let us know. We will remove them immediately.
about Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine
( Gem Shrine )
Copyright - All rights are reserved.
Written on 29th April 2004 by Hiroaki Sasaki - Osaka, Japan
日本の結婚式は 国民の生活水準があがり この頃は 派手（はで ）になりました。
４０年ぐらい 前は 花嫁（ はなよめ ＝ bride ）は 和装（ わそう ＝
Japanese style wedding costume ) で 花婿（ はなむこ ＝ bride groom ）
は 洋装（ ようそう ＝ the western style suit ） が 普通でした。 この頃は
お色直し（ おいろなおし ）といって 式の中ほどで 和装から洋装へ 花嫁
も 花婿も着替えます。 結婚式は 最初は 厳粛（げんしゅく ＝ solemn
)に 行われますが 式の中ほどから お酒もまわってきて 歌ったり 冗談（じょうだん）
を 言ったりします。 花嫁も 頭をしめつけるかつら（ wig ） と 重たい
着物から開放され 洋装になりますので リラックスした気分になります。