Monday, April 10, 2006

All the little souls. . .

Today I wandered into a beautiful Shinto shrine in Okusawa, which is very close to where I work. It was such a serene place, and I believe it is a shrine to children. There were many individual little shrines, including one of a statue dressed in real baby clothes. On the floor of that shrine was a tiny white stuffed teddy bear and fresh flowers.

The main entry to the shrine is draped in a dragon made out of rope or hemp-like material, and apparently guards or protects the souls of the children. There's another open-mouthed dragon inside the shrine, and its head and upper body projects out of the rocks.

As I walked around the almost deserted grounds, I felt so at peace. Bless all the little souls who have touched so many hearts.

This is a photo of the place where visitors wash their hands before entering the shrine.

Here's one of the gold-trimmed doors to the main shrine.

Memorials to three children.

Peace and serenity among the trees.

The main shrine.

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