(MENAFN- PRLog) — From June 30 to July 10, visitors to the charming little Edo town of Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture can experience Chinowa Kuguri . This Shinto ritual, held at Kawagoe Hachimangu Shrine, began in the early Edo period with the intention of warding off plagues and promoting disease-free breathing. A perfect event for times with Covid, the liturgy, also known as Nagoshi no Harae (“Summer Passing Purification Ceremony”), helps to transfer personal illnesses and misery to a Katashiro or an altered image. Individuals write their names and ages on this paper doll image, which has been purified by priests, then, in the shape of a figure eight, pass through a large ring (about 2.5 meters in diameter) called Chinowa (because it is made of Chigaya grass). Then they go to the front of the main shrine and offer the Katashiro to the deity, who will take care of medical and even emotional misfortunes by transferring evil New Year’s spirits to the Katashiro for the next six months. The idea is to ensure the health of a family during the harsh and hot summer by allowing body and mind to be reborn in a new and clean way.
A 150-year-old garden and historic guest house annex add to the authentic experience
Even without this purification festival, Kawagoe is a splendid and convenient day trip from Tokyo. A must-see attraction is the Tantoku Garden, established in 1869 by Tokujiro Suzuki (the first), a timber merchant from Kawagoe. This distinctive Kare-sansui style garden depicts a waterless landscape, using rocks and sand, where each stone reveals the mindset of the garden creator and the plants echo the beauty of the four seasons.
For an additional fee, visitors also have the option of participating in a Japanese tea ceremony and a traditional candy-making session, Wasanbon. A Japanese, Italian or French lunch, served on the second floor with a view of the garden, can also be booked for an additional charge.
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Visitors can enhance their garden experience by adding an overnight stay in the private villa annex to the property’s historic house. The authentic guest annex, built in 1901, is praised for its extremely rare and expensive massive black central pillar, made from a single tree trunk.
Beyond guests, the entire site — the garden and two-story annex — is often rented by the hour for weddings and other special occasions, even photo shoots. For an enhanced experience, guests staying in the villas can soak in the open-air bath. Built in the Meiji era, the vats overlook the rice store or kura, which lights up at night in the moonlight.
Hanachozu, floating flowers in a pot are featured throughout Kawagaoe, including Tantoku Garden, Saimyoji Temple (and Kawagoe Hachiman Shrine (although the experience is traditional, they are a newly popular attraction since Covid, as a way to heal in temples and shrines, and a favorite of Instagrammers.
Additional Kawagoe Summer Festival in August
The 30th Kawagoe Fireworks Display will light up the night sky on August 20, 2022 for the first time in three years.
How to reach Kawagoe
Kawagoe (is just half an hour northwest of Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo (along the Tobu Tojo Line (there is also the Kawagoe Discount Pass Premium (which offers discounted train fares on the Tobu Tojo Line, free bus rides within Kawagoe, and valuable perks at cooperating stores and attractions in Kawagoe City.
For more information on Tobu Railways, visit : Railway Co., Ltd. is a large Japanese company consisting of approximately 90 companies. The Tobu Railway covers the longest operating distance in metropolitan Tokyo, leading to many tourist attractions, including: Asakusa and TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN in Tokyo; Nikko and Kinugawa-Onsen, famous for its World Heritage Sites and hot springs; the Tatebayashi and Ashikaga areas, known for their fields of blooming flowers; and Kawagoe and Tochigi City, where the atmosphere of the old Edo era lives on. Tobu is also invested in a portfolio of hotels, including the brand new The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko and FUFU Nikko Onsen Resort.
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