Until the time of the Meiji Restoration of 1868 Uji Jinja (shrine) was part of the Ujigami Jinja (lower and upper shrines). The main structure of Uji Jinja was built in the early Kamakura Period (1185/1192-1333(Kamakura Period)), and it is thought that the shrine is built on the site of the Kirihara no Higeta, the palace/villa of Prince Wakiratsuko (for more information on Prince Wakirastuko read the blog post https://www.hiddenpathskyoto.com/post/asahiyama-hiking-trail-and-the-tombstone-of-crown-prince-uji-no-wakiirtsuko ).
If you visit Uji Jinja in June, and many other shinto Shrines in Japan (as pictured below right), there is something that you may come across called a Chinowa, a large grass/straw ring. The chinowa is large enough to walk through and is part of the chinowa kuguri ceremony of purification. The process is believed to cleanse any impurities, bad luck, or bad spirits from the first six months of the year
The ceremony is thought to originate from the legend of attaching a small ring of grass to one's hip warding off disease and evil spirits.
For the chinowa kuguri purification rite, you must first go through the grass hoop and circle around the left side of the hoop. Then step through the hoop a second time, turning right and rounding it again before entering the hoop a third time and rounding it on the left side to make a figure eight, as demonstrated in the video below.
Do you get extra protection if you do the process and walk through chinowa rings at numerous Shinto shrine? Who knows, but there's no harm in trying!
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