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Day 13

We're back home! Here's the last batch of pictures.

On Sunday, our last full day in Japan, we visited the Sagano–Arashiyama area. We walked through bamboo groves and a little rural residential district. We visited Nonomiya Shrine, a Shintō shrine described as follows:
This shrine is what remains of the religious complex where Imperial princesses who would serve in Ise Shrine (the head shrine of the Imperial Family) underwent purification rites. Three small shrines remain here—the central one enshrining Amaterasu Omi-kami (the Sun Goddess), the left the God of Atago, and the right the God of Matsuo.

Princesses sent here by the emperor for purification were called Saigu. Initially, they went through a purification period within the Imperial Palace for a period of more than one year. After that, they came and stayed in the Nonomiya complex for three years, and then they were finally allowed to serve in Ise Shrine. The first Saigu that trained here was Princess Yamato upon the order of the Emperor Suijin. The custom lasted until the late 14th century.

Nonomiya Shrine is described in the world's oldest noval, the Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. It is also frequently mentioned in Japanese noh theatre songs and tanka (verse).



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 21st, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Beautiful.

And here I am, in an office building in Vienna. Bleh. Looks like a great trip you had, here's to many more :)

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )