Visit to Ise in the Twentieth Year of Heisei Period – Part 2

森羅万象第6巻 表紙

I applied for Dai Dai Kagura(大々神楽) at the place of Geku Kaguraden(外宮神楽殿)for receiving Ofuda, a kind of talisman. I wrote my name on the application form as a representative of my family on and as the kind of prayer, selected the checkbox of “Expressing Gratitude to God.” Next time I pay a visit, I’m going to select “Praying for National Prosperity.” And I wrote the number of attendants.

  • apply for A  Aを申し込む
  • representative 代表者
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • prosperity 繁栄
  • attendant 出席者

This time, I received the prayer service together with my acquaintance’s family. We entered the waiting room hoping that our children would learn Japanese culture. As it was early morning, we were alone in the room, which was very large and clean. Waiting about 20 minutes, I heard a priest call my name and we headed for the sanctuary in the rear of the waiting room.

  • acquaintance 知人
  • priest 神官
  • head 向かう
  • sanctuary 神殿
  • rear 後ろ

After a priest held a purification ceremony for a short time, two shrine maidens performed a ritual of putting Ofuda and offerings, such as dried bonito, dried cuttlefish, kelp, salt, rice, tea and sake, on the altar. The ritual was really great. One shrine maiden appears from an inner room with the offerings on her hands, and the other shrine maiden receives the offering at the entrance of the sanctuary and put them on the altar. They repeat this many times in front of visitors. Ther delicate moves coincide with each other perfectly.They never fail to bend their knees once just before going to the front of the altar. I heard that this behavior means to express respect to God by crouching when crossing the centerline of the altar because the centerline, called Seichu(正中), is esteemed in shinto.


  • purification ceremony お祓い
  • shrine maiden 巫女
  • ritual 儀式
  • offering 供物
  • altar 祭壇
  • inner 奥の
  • delicate 繊細な
  • coincide 一致する
  • bend 曲げる
  • behavior 振る舞い
  • respect 尊敬
  • crouch 屈む
  • esteem 重んじる

What impressed me most this time was the two shrine maidens, for the young shrine maidens who looked around 20 years old were approached by the holy spirit. There were several high ranked male shinto priests there, but only the two shrine maidens were approached by the energy of the holy spirit. Occasionally, I find some shrine maidens who are playgirls in private these days. But the shrine maidens of Ise Grand Shrine(伊勢神宮) were quite different. I perceived they trained themselves very hard everyday. They must have had no private time. They were the very holy women the holy spirit could come close to.

  • impress 感銘を与える
  • approach 近く
  • high ranked 高位の
  • occasionally 時折
  • perceive 知覚する
  • train 鍛える

Another thing I learned this time was a shinto prayer offered by a high ranked priest before the ritual. I had never heard such a prayer before. It was said slowly and softly as if it were a story. The way the priest said it was like the vocalization for converting the gentle spiritual waves of Ise Grand Shrine into words.

  • story 物語
  • vocalization 発声法
  • convert 変換する

If you’d like to receive the prayer service at Ise Grand Shrine, I think Okagura(御神楽), the basic performance for which you need to pay more than 1500o yen, is enough. We thought it was expensive at first, but a great Ofuda and delicious Shinsen(神饌) specially made of fish caught in the sea owned by Ise Grand Shrine we received at the end of the ceremony were worth what we paid.

  • expensive 高価な
  • worth 価値がある

The large Ofuda was too big to be enshrined in my household shinto altar, so I stood it, with it in its wooden box and the lid opened, on the left side of the altar. You can lay it with its wooden box closed, too. If you don’t have your own shinto altar, you can stand it because of its thickness. As long as you offer Sakaki plant and water to Ofuda, the holy energy can come close to it. If you can not get Sakaki, change the water when you can do it.

To be continued.

  • enshrine 祀る
  • thickness 厚み
  • as long as S+V SがVする限り

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.