Kyoto Shimbun 2013.12.23 News

"Jumbo Goshinya" Decorations
New Year Preparations at Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine

Continuing its New Year preparations, the main shrine of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, in Yawata, Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture, was decorated with "Jumbo Goshinya," or huge sacred arrows, on December 22. Under clear blue skies, the eight-meter-high arrows made of green bamboo were set up, ready for New Year's visitors.

Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine has a legend that "Shiraha-no-ya," or a white-feathered arrow, was shot from this shrine to raise "kamikaze," or divine wind, at the time of the Mongolian Expeditions against Japan during the Kamakura Period. The arrows are believed to have the power for answering prayers such as for "certain victory," "good luck" or "protection from evil."

Moso bamboo, measuring approximately 20 centimeters in diameter and cut down on Mt. Otoko within the precincts, is used for Jumbo Goshinya. Shinto priests wearing white "Kariginu," or court noble costumes, carefully attached the bamboo with white feathers. While seven or eight people fine-tuned the arrows' directions, a total of three arrows were set up in front of the main shrine and "Kaguraden," a hall for Shinto music and dance.

Visitors gazed up at the towering, huge Goshinya in the shrine's precincts and thought about the coming New Year. The arrow decorations will be up until February 3, 2014.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Under clear blue skies, Shinto priests set up Jumbo Goshinya in front of the main shrine (Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, Yawata, Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture)