Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sacred Tree


I visited Kinomiya Jinja (Shrine) when I went to Atami. There's a huge camphor tree over 2000 years old which is designated as a natural treasure. Camphor trees are often seen at shrines, probably because ancient Japanese believed there were gods in enormous trees, rocks, waterfalls and the like, and worshipped those places. There was a board explaining the origin of this tree. "About 150 years ago, there was a large dispute over fishing rights, and the village of Atami needed considerable money to make payments. Five huge camphor trees were cut down for this. When a man tried to chop down this tree, a grey-haired old man suddenly appeared and stood in the way with open arms. The ax split in half, and the old man disappeared. The villagers thought it must be a sacred tree, and gave up cutting it down..."
There's a saying that if you go around this tree once, you'll extend your life a year longer. My children ran around it 10 times!

In the animated movie "My Neighbor Totoro", a little girl goes through a hollow in a large camphor tree and finds the forest spirit Totoro. When you stand by huge trees, it really does feel divine.

5 Comments:

At 2:40 AM, Blogger VUONG said...

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At 2:41 AM, Blogger VUONG said...

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At 10:15 AM, Blogger Timothy Sullivan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:18 AM, OpenID japaninsight said...

Nice post. My son was baptized at Kinomiya Jinja 25 years ago. (My wife is from Atami.) We just visited and I'm about to upload a video clip of the old tree. Sounds like you're a cross-cultural hybrid like my kids :)

 
At 4:30 AM, Blogger hanna alisha said...

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