Miyajima Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by globetrott
  • the bride's special hairstyle
    the bride's special hairstyle
    by globetrott
  • 2 nuns of Itsukushima Shrine
    2 nuns of Itsukushima Shrine
    by globetrott

Most Recent Local Customs in Miyajima

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    a monk waiting for donations

    by globetrott Updated Nov 26, 2014

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    This is one of the mysteries that I could not find an answer for after my stay in Japan, BUT now I am glad to have found an answer in the VT-forum:What is this Person doing? - thanks a lot for the answers !
    It is a Buddhist monk with an alms bowl and bell. Buddhist monks obviously are collecting alms in a different way and different understanding than in other religions: The Buddhist monk is waiting silently for donations without begging, a big hat hides the face of the monk and so the person giving a donation will have no eye-contact with the monk, nor will he receive a thanks or acknowledgement for the donation. As the bowl fills, it's emptied into the bag (with the characters on it) that he is wearing around the neck.
    In Buddhism such a donation is considered as a form of holy generosity; of letting go of the earthly/material.
    And your donation will come back to you spiritually many times. That reminds a bit of the idea that the moslems have about donations they are giving to beggars: The person who gives the donation is thanking the beggars to have taken and accepted the donation !

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    Deer

    by pure1942 Updated Sep 20, 2010

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    You won't be on Miyajima long before you run into a few of the local four legged inhabitants. The deer of Miyajima are as famous as the deer at Nara and are revered as sacred animals. In the Japanese Shinto religion, deer are deeply respected as they are believed to be messengers of the gods. On Miyajima as in Nara the deer are allowed to wander freely all over the island.

    Sadly the fate of the Miyajima deer is somewhat in jeopardy, as their condition has deteriorated significantly as the effects of the Miyajima authorities ban on humans feeding the deer human food becomes clear. Before visiting Miyajima, I had read several articles referring to the deteriorating condition of the deer and how they were starting to starve due to the lack of food on the island and the lack of food coming from visitors to the island which had proved in the past to be their most consistent food source. However due to the ban on feeding the animals on Miyajima, the deer are now feeling the effects of the food shortage. Petitions are being collected in protest against the worsening condition of the deer and local charity groups are coming each week to feed the deer and hopefully the future will hold something brighter for these beautiful animals.

    You can buy special deer biscuits in the shops but be warned that if you do feed the deer, you will be plagued for the rest of your time on the island!!!

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    Donations that were given to the temple

    by globetrott Updated May 16, 2009

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    Donations that were given as a present to the temple are mostly shown at the entrance of the temples and they are always a good advertisment for the companies who had given these donations. For us tourists they mostly make a great opportunity to take an exotic picture, maybe of rice-sacks or maybe some wine, who knows,they are colorful and unique for us anyway.

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    clean your hands before you enter the shrine

    by globetrott Updated May 16, 2009

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    For believers it is compulsory to clean their hands before they enter the shrine. For tourists this is not really necessary but in any case it is interesting to watch this ceremony that follows a certain method of cleaning first the mouth, then the hands and finally the instrument,that was used in order to take the water from the well, so it will be clean also for the next believer.

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    private wishes

    by globetrott Written May 16, 2009

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    Private wishes and prayers for the gods are written into white papers that will be fixed along a string in the temple, everybody may do so and it was interesting for me to learn that in Japan it is quite usual to believe in more than one religion : Buddism and Shintuism for instance go togeather well.
    Another way to post wishes is to buy small wooden boards, that have prayers or wishes already printed on them like in my last 2 photos.

    private wishes & prayers written on papers private wishes & prayers written on papers private wishes & prayers written on papers wishes & prayers written on wood wishes & prayers written on wood
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    the nuns of Itsukushima Shrine

    by globetrott Updated May 14, 2009

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    The nuns of Itsukushima Shrine are wearing special costumes and they dont like to have their photo taken,this is why you better take your photos with a tele-lens. In most cases their reaction is to turn around and walk away, as soon as they see a camera.
    Mostly you will not see any of the nuns walking around the temple, but they are sitting in a kind of kiosk, where they are selling religious articles and there you might be able to take a photo like i did from a big distance and a 600mm lens.

    2 nuns of Itsukushima Shrine
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    a religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine

    by globetrott Updated May 14, 2009

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    We were able to watch this short religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine and our tourguide told us, that photography is no problem as long as we dont flash. The priest was beating a drum first and then he went to different places of the temple with this kind of white "broom" (maybe someone may tell me the right expression for it)

    a religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine a religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine a religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine a religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine a religious ceremony inside of Itsukushima Shrine
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    Holy deer, always hungry

    by globetrott Updated May 14, 2009

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    This kind of deer is a holy animal in Japan and for that reason you will find them in and around many shrines and temples, they are walking where-ever they want and they are always begging for food and posing for photos. In some places you will be able to buy special cookies for them and these clever animals are waiting close to these food-stands for their meals. Sometimes it is quite hard to get rid of them but they always make a good photo !

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    a traditional japanese wedding

    by globetrott Updated May 14, 2009

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    We were lucky that just in the moment when we came to Itsukushima Shrine a traditional japanese wedding took place and while we missed the ceremony itself we could at least see the bride and the groom and the riksha that took them away afterwards.All of that looked so very special like in a movie because of the wonderful traditional costumes and the special place, it also was something special for the local people and everybody was taking photos. In my last pic : the riksha that took away the bride and groom for further ceremonies.

    a traditional japanese wedding a traditional japanese wedding the bride's special hairstyle the bride's special hairstyle the riksha that took them away
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    Oysters to eat

    by SELVA73 Written Feb 17, 2007

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    Miyajima is famous for its seafood. In some places of the town, you can find a person who sales fried oysters. Well, they don't are fried but I don't know the name in english. My husband said that they are excellent.

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    When Buying Your Fortune

    by Rabbityama Written Oct 8, 2005

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    In Miyajima, on the shrine, there is a place where you can purchase fortunes. If you buy one, you are supposed to read it, then tie it onto a nearby rung if you want it to come true. If your fortune is not so appealing, then you do not need to tie it. The fortunes are in Japanese only, so you can only know your fortune if you can read Japanese or have someone to translate for you.

    Buying Fortunes
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    How to Pray at the Shrine

    by Bilimari Written May 8, 2005

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    We are very unique when it comes to religion.
    While Christian population is growing, and more younger generations loosing interests in religion, majority of Japanese would answer that they are buddhists. But, they also believe in Shintoism, and participate in New Years, Coming of age, and other Shinto celemonies.
    Oh, and exchange gifts on Christmas, and valentine's day, and.....

    There is a correct way of praying at the Shinto Shrine.

    1. Wash hands and rinse mouth with water in front of the building. (See photo.) Do not put the dirty water back in the bowl/sink!!!

    2. Throw money (coin) in the box.

    3. Shake a bell, if available.

    4. Bow twice, clap your hands twice, pray with hands together, and bow once.

    Note: Do NOT clap your hands at the temple.

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    Take Part in a Tea Ceremony

    by DeltaBlue Written Jun 7, 2003

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    When taking tea at a tea ceremony, be sure to turn the cup around three times and admire it before tasting your tea.

    Outdoor tea ceremony on Miyajima Island
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Miyajima Local Customs

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