Another beautiful sunny day in Tokyo lured us back out into the city. This time our destination was a shrine called Koami Jinja a few blocks away from the Kayabacho station. This shrine is believed to offer protection against evil spirits and brings good fortune.
According to an article I read on the website Trip101, the reason for this belief is because the shrine survived the bombings of WWII, as well as all the soldiers who came here before heading out to battle survived unscathed. Now people come here for many reasons such as when looking for jobs, buying lotto tickets, before exams, etc.
Despite the fact I’m unemployed and could use help in the job-finding department, the actual reason we made it our destination yesterday was because of their Doburoku Festival (a celebration of home-brewed sake). Another Festival, yes—and I will be reporting on lots of festivals because these Japanese like to party, and the price is right: free.
Visitors also come here to wash their coins in a small well. Once washed, these coins need to be carried in the wallet to bring the holder good luck and prosperity. Let me tell you, we washed some coins.
Besides free sake samples, there was also Shinto dancing and music performed. The dancing took place in the shrine itself so it was hard to see from where we stood. I could see a person in a beautiful kimono of white with silver design, wearing a big floppy gold hood and wearing the smiling-Buddha-like mask one sees in pictures, moving slowly and precisely. Drumming and chanting accompanied the anonymous dancer. It seemed like something from a different time and I would have liked to see more (sorry for bad photo).
After this dancing, three young musicians dressed in black kimonos and black hats came out onto the second floor balcony and began playing some music while a young woman dressed in a beautiful white and red kimono with a gold headpiece danced. It was interesting, too, but the music sounded a bit like when my little brother was first learning to play the clarinet. I can’t say I liked it a lot. I couldn’t tell what instruments were being played besides a flute. They played two songs. The first one was for the young woman to dance with a fan. The second song, sounding much like the first song, accompanied her as she danced with a branch of foliage.
After we had watched, washed, and drank, we headed off to the Shinjuku area in search of something alcoholic to drink.