Hoshasai - Atsutajingu
熱田神宮 奉射祭

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Hoshashinji, Atsuta shrine, Nagoya 

Hoshashinji is a service where archers shoot arrows at a reed mat target called chigi to divine the outcome of the next harvest and weather, and families’ prosperity. After the ceremony people scramble for the chigi to get the charm, which is believed to exorcise evil spirits and invite good fortune. 

Lawful shooting (hosha hitchu) is the belief that a correct shot will always hit the target. The essential thing is to just dispel all doubt and ego to calm the eyes of the mind in the realm of no intention and thought (munen muso). This means the harmonious unification of the three elements: a stable mind, a stable body, and assured and well-honed technique.

The eight stages of lawful shooting are: taking the stance (ashibumi), setting the torso (dozukuri), bow at the ready posture (yugamae), lifting up (uchiokoshi), drawing apart (hikiwake), holding at full draw (kai), the release (hanare), and remaining body and mind (zanshin).















Atsuta shrine (熱田神宮)

Atsuta shrine, familiarly known as Venerable Atsuta (Atsuta Sama), has been one of the greatest centres of worship from ancient times. Visitors to the shrine, including those who practice the conventional New Year visit (hatsumode), now count nine million annually.

The enshrined deity is Amaterasu Omikami. The tradition says that this god manifested for the first time the way of gods to this world and blessed mankind with the virtue of love. According to the legend the sacred sword named Kusanagi no tsurugi has been kept in the shrine. In historical times, the emperor possessed a real sword with the name Kusanagi. However, in 688 it was removed from the palace to Atsuta shrine after the sword was blamed for causing Emperor Temmu to fall ill. Along with the jewel and the mirror, it is one of the three imperial regalia of Japan. 

It is recorded that during the Edo period, a Shinto priest claimed to have seen the sword. According to him, the sword was about 84cm long, shaped like calamus, in white metallic colour, and well maintained. Another record claims that this priest died from the curse. 

Atsuta shrine was founded about 1900 years ago. It has been ranked by people second to the Great shrine of Ise. They call the shrine by the familiar name of miya (shrine). Moreover, the geographical character of the fertile Owari plain has fostered a faith in Atsuta shrine as protector of agriculture. Many of the festivals and divine services of the shrine show close connection with popular life around agricultural industry. 

In 1893 the shrine was remodelled into shinmei zukuri structure, the same style of building as Ise shrine. On the occasion of celebration in 1935 the shrine buildings as well as other facilities were completely rearranged and improved so that it came to assume the grandeur true to the Great shrine of Atsuta.






























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