At the entrance of Shimogamo shrine
Mitarashi Matsuri is a celebration of Seoritsu Hime's (goddess of water) purifying powers. This goddess is enshrined in the Shimogamo shrine.
The other side of the entrance. See the people?
The story goes that as Princess Seoritsu was wading in the stream that flows through Shimogamo shrine, she found a fine arrow floating and picked it up.
Entrance again. Another view
When she got home, she placed the arrow next to her pillow and lo and behold, when she got into the bed, the arrow changed into a handsome young prince!
Rows of lanterns hung along the corridor
Then, nine months later, the princess gave birth to Seoritsu Hime. Hehe, we all know wht happened that night.
This is for TJ who likes lanterns.
I went with my labmates and Ton the first night. Brought my trusty Olympus with me but sadly enough, after only two pictures, the camera's batteries died! So I had to return and this time, brought along the Kiss.
In the shrine grounds.
The place was so beautiful, as you can see, plenty of lanterns were hung everywhere. In the main shrine, you can pray to your respective gods ( your birth year's animal sign ) with a toss of a 5 yen coin ( 5 yen is the best coin to use ) and then clap your hands twice and wish for your hearts desire.
Through the main stage. At the background is the entrance gate.
The main shrine room was beautiful. All dark except for the lamps illuminating the room. What a pity I could not take a picture of that place since I did not have a tripod then. Perhaps Patrick and Puay got a nice pic of that place?
The people in the icy cold stream water.
Then, for 200¥, you can wade in the stream that flows through the shrine. Despite the heat of summer, the water is icy cold! I love it! You would be given a candle which you will light along the way. The candles will be placed at the designated site. The picture is blur, unfortunately. I took many pictures of this scene, but since the lighting was not good, everything turned out blur, plus I have shaky hands. Too bad, cause the view was lovely.
Placing the candles.
Blur again. After wading in the stream, for a donation ( you can give as much as you want or as little as you want ), you get to drink the spring water, which was cooling and refreshing.
Another small shrine located at the stream
Then you head back towards the main ground. The first day I went, I was wearing jeans and sport shoes. This time, I knew better and came in shorts and selipar! There is another small shrine where you can pray as you get out of the stream. There will be a rope attached to a bell. Pull the rope, the bell rings, clap twice and then pray.
As I walked back towards the main grounds.
Oh yeah, by drinking the spring water, you will have a summer full of health and vitality!
Close up of the lanterns. Background is the corridor leading towards the main gate.
The place was truly gorgeous because it was only lighted up with lanterns and yellow lights. So, a more natural glow instead of the harsh fluorescent lights.
The corridor. Blur though.
Along the way towards the shrine, there were stalls selling everything from food to pet fishes and plants. There was grilled sotong.....man.....I was hungry at that time and the smell was delicious. But Ton had beef curry at his house and that was my dinner! Thank you Ton! Oishikatta!
The lanterns again at another corridor but these were probably hand made.