Nagoya Tour 2: Atsuta Shrine

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      (This is continued from the previous blog “Nagoya Tour: Toganji Temple.)

     It started raining when we went out of the temple. We trotted to the car and left for Atsuta Shrine, which is known as the second venerable shrine in Japan. It enshrines Kusanagi-no-tsurugi, or the Kusanagi sacred sward, which is one of the three imperial regalia of Japan, and has about 2000 year history. 

     It was more crowded in the shrine than I had thought. I myself seldom go to shrines. If I visit a shrine, it’ll be a New Year’s Day. I wondered what people were coming to the shrine for on a day which was not special. Most people looked like that they just visited and prayed for their happiness and so on though. Since Atsuta Shrine is one of tourist attractions in Nagoya, there might be many people. 

     We were about to leave the hall of worship when we saw a wedding procession. Although I’m Japanese, it was my first time to have seen one. Wow! How beautiful! I felt as if I was in an ancient era. Nowadays in Japan, many couples have western style wedding at chapels even though they are not Christian. Probably most couples who have or had wedding at shrines are not Shintoists, either though.

     Since KR seems to be interested in Japanese swords, we went to the treasury in the shrine. At the entrance, the front desk clerk said, “In Japanese swords, blades themselves are art. Generally in western swords, scabbards are more decorative and artistic than blades. So compare each blade’s temper pattern and glisten. You’ll find out the differences and even think about each craftsman.” 

     As the clerk said, each blade of Japanese swords has beauty all its own. According to him, the swords which were given to the shrine had to be beautiful and be able to reflect as millers because they were thank and invocation offerings. They were created for sacred offerings not for killing people. Since I had never thought of that thing when I saw swords until that day, the visit to the treasury opened my eyes and was a nice experience for me. 

     After seeing many swords at the treasury, we had kishimen, or Japanese flat noodle for lunch in the precinct of the shrine, and then we headed for Nagoya Castle.

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