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No.28 "Nagoshi no Oharae! What is Chinowa Kuguri and Katashiro?"


Thank you for visiting my web! This site is my spiritual comic website, I express with comic what I felt and experienced.

This is the story of early summer several year ago.
When I visited the shrine, I found mysterious things in the front of the gate. It was a big ring. It looked like it was made of straw and the size was enough for people go through. I wonder what this is?
There was a description there, and it seems to be called "Chinowa kuguri (茅の輪くぐり)". If we go through as described in this ring, it appears that we can purify our energy (Kegare). That's why I decided to try it!

What is Nagoshi no Oharae(夏越の大祓)?

Nagoshi no Oharae (夏越の大祓) is a shinto's ceremony on June 30th. (Some shrines is held in late July.)

On our daily lives, we are affected by various negative energy and other people's feeling. We have a variety of emotions, such as having troubles in our hearts, no energy and cannot forget bad things etc. It's a shinto's ceremony called "Nagoshi no Oharae (夏越の大祓)" that purify our soul and body once in half a year". Moreover, half a year later in December, it's a ceremony called New year's Oharae (年越しの大祓/Toshikoshi no Oharae) that "purify our soul and body to spend the good new year". Both ceremonies are help us stay peaceful daily and remove our negative energy.

If you visit a shrine during the ceremony season (late June), you may be able to find a ring (Chinowa / 茅の輪) or a small paper-made human shaped called Hitogata (人形 or 形代). Some shrines don't have written instructions, so let's see what kind of thing that is!

What is Chinowa kuguri (茅の輪くぐり)?

Chinowa (茅の輪) is a big ring made by Kaya (thatch). Chinowa (茅の輪) is a big ring made by Kaya (thatch). It's a big ring that we can pass through, and it's said that the ritual can purify for half a year of impure energy or various things.

The origin of the name "Chinowa kuguri (茅の輪くぐり)"
A man named "Susanoo no Mikoto (すさのおのみこと)" was traveling to find his bride. He visited a rich house to stay overnight in a village, but a rich man refused him because he looks impoverished. And then, one poor man "Somin Shorai (蘇民将来)" who was watching it invited Susanoo home and treated him with hospitality. The next day, Susanoo told him that he is deity and "If the bad disease is going around you, wear the Chinowa on your waist." After that, the plague spread in this area, but he and his family were survived thanks to teachings of Susanoo.

Chinowa has such a legend story.

How to go through a Chinowa
1. Bow in front of Chinowa and turn from the left
2. When you get back to the front, next turn from the right
3. Turn from the left like just like 1
4. The last, go through Chinowa

It go through like below illustration.

Start with the blue line ①→②→③, and the last go through the ring.
The above method is the basic action. Depending on the shrine, in addition to that, various rituals may be performed. So, if you don't understand about details action, please refer to other people's doing.

Introducing the Chinowa kuguri's photos!

The photo was taken by me two years ago in July in Miyazaki Prefecture's Kanbashira Shrine (神柱神社).

Front of the shrine

From behind the torii

What is a Hitogata(人形) or a Katashiro (形代)?

Hitogata (人形) or Katashiro (形代) are tools used for purification at shrines, we transfer to it our impure energy or misfortunes as a substitute.
Many shrines provide Hitogata during the Nagoshi no Oharae's season (late June). The price will depend on the shrine, but it may be about 300 to 3,000 yen.

How to write Hitogata or Katashiro

Let's show how to write Hitogata(人形) or Katashiro(形代)!!

1. Write your full name and age on the Hitogata's paper. (Depending on the shrine, you also need your adress.)
2. Rub your whole body with the Hitogata's paper.
(The important point is to rub with an image that transfers your impure energy to Hitogata. If there is something wrong with your body, carefully rub that part.)
3. Blow your breath on the Hitogata three times.

Anyway, let's transfer your negative energy and your disease to the Hitogata!

Then about age, we need to write in the "kazoedoshi (数え年)". It's the traditional japanese age system, this method is used in shrines.

If your this year's birthday hasn't yet arrived, add 2 years of age. →Your age + 2
If your birthday already passed, add 1 years of age. →Your age + 1

If you finish writing a Katashiro, you pay for it and pass it to the shrine. In the shrine, on June 30 (or another day) your Katashiro is purified by Nagoshi no Harae's rituals.


Nagoshi no Ooharae, actually I haven't been able to do it yet this year. I can find Chinowa in a famous shrine but I don't see it in a local shrine so I would like to participate if there is a chance!
In fact, I don't know if it can purify human's dirty energy with Chinowa or using a Katashiro or Hitogata. However I think the traditional events are probably meaningful. Not only tradition but something invisible is connected there, so those events have attracted people.

So, if you're interested the event, let's visit a shrine! I recommend going in late June.
See you next time!




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