Blessing circle on Japans’ Enoshima Island

 

I loved living in Japan and exploring all the wonderful places it has to offer. One of my favourite weekend destinations outside of Tokyo was the small island of Enoshima.

Enoshima island
First view of Enoshima island from the bridge
Crossing the 600 meter long bridge to get to Enoshima island
Crossing the 600 meter long bridge to get to Enoshima island

Enoshima is very small, about 4 km in circumference, linked to the mainland shore of Fujisawa city by two 600-meter bridges. As I cross one of these bridges onto Enoshima Island you enter onto the main road of the island. I just followed this road and it led me right up to the main shrine of the island.

Enoshima Island
After crossing the bridge I walked down the main street of the island lined with shops and restaurants

 There are three main shrines on this islet, each sacred to a mythological goddess. As I walked alomg the paved path I passed the entrances to some lesser shrines until I reached Hetsu-no-miya shrine.

The first structures I saw after entering the torii gates was the main shrine, Hetsunomiya,  sacred to the goddess Tagitsuhime-no-mikoto, originally founded in 1206.

The blessing circle in front of Hetsunomiya Shrine
The blessing circle in front of Hetsunomiya Shrine

Instructions for the Blessing Circle
Instructions for the Blessing Circle

In front of the shrine there was a blessing circle. You had to walk through it and around it 3 times in different directions for good health to befall you. I stood there for a while watching everyone else do this before I attempted. I didn’t want to do it wrong and then end up getting the opposite of what was intended.

I do love these good health and goodness rituals they have in Japan at a lot of the shrine. I try them all just in case, you never know what ends up working.

Patrons using the blessing circle
I watched patrons using the blessing circle so I would get it right
Yasaka Shrine
Small shrine, part of Yasaka Shrine

I followed the path through the forest to Yasaka Shrine, dedicated to the Japanese mythological god Susano-o-no-mikoto.
Yasaka Shrine was founded in the ninth century, and was built to stave off epidemics in Kyoto. The epidemics were believed to have been brought by the curse of Gozu-ten’no. After Yasaka Shrine was built to appease the curse of Gozu-Ten’no, the epidemic in Kyoto was crushed out. From then onward, people in Kyoto began to venerate the god.

Nakatsu-no-miya  shrine
Nakatsu-no-miya shrine

I walked along bright tulip covered lanes to the highest point of the island where I had a fabulous view over the bay below. Here at the top I found Nakatsu-no-miya  shrine.
This shrine was erected by Priest En-nin in 853, dedicating to Ichikishimahime-no-mikoto. Curious though it may sound that Buddhist priest erected a Shinto shrine, amalgamation of Shinto and Buddhism was already progressing in his days. Present-day shrine was rebuilt in 1689.

Enoshima beach, quite deserted for such a warm sunny day
Enoshima beach, quite deserted for such a warm sunny day

It was a lovely sunny day so after leaving the island I went for a walk along the beach. I felt very far away from the bustling city of Tokyo that lay just 30 minutes away by train. 

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2 comments

  1. Love the idea of the blessing circle. It reminds me of the ancient Scottish/ British tradition to walk around a sacred well three times to receive its blessing.
    These simple rituals can have a very soothing and hopeful effect.

    Like

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