I hope everyone has a healthy and happy new year. We had glorious snow yesterday and I took what seemed like a thousand pictures. I look forward to sharing them with you as I get them put into the computer. There are few things more beautiful than Kyoto in the snow.
We start here at this Shinto stone gate, called a torii (鳥居) which you will find marking the entrance of all Shinto shrines. This small shrine is very close to my apartment, and the god here is associated with the Iwakura Shrine (石座神社) a larger shrine a little distance away. You can see an earlier post of that shrine here. The torii gate has been decorated for the New Year with a new sacred rice-straw rope, called a shimenawa (しめ縄), strips of sacred paper (called shide; 紙垂) , and then especially for the New Year, palms of fern. It is a tradition to visit a Shinto shrine on the first three days of a new year to ask for good health, luck, fortune and whatever else you would like. I hope to post a few photos from this year's shrine visits. In the meantime, have a happy new year!