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A giant ring of straw to pass through
First you must pass the gate of stone. Then the gate of straw.

Itabashi Tenso Shrine

Came upon this one unexpectedly when exploring Itabashi and Tokiwadai. Often when I'm biking around and I see some big trees in the distance, it's worth my while to go check it out. Either it's a park, or a really interesting estate that's been around a long time, or, in this case, a shrine.

I've been trying to explore areas north of me, since I usually don't have a reason to go Beyond the Wall. So I'll look for some interesting café (I'm also trying to reduce my reliance on Starbucks) and use that as an eventual destination for my wandering. As much as I love ultimate, it has been really nice to have two whole days to spend as I please. That said, when I wander, I'm also on the lookout for fields to play on or good spaces to train.

I've found a few spaces that are good. Turf fields that could possibly be rented. Tracks for sprinting. Fields surrounded by nets rather than fences so that I can train throwing into the nets and hopefully damage the discs a bit less. But as the number of cases comes back up, and tournaments are pushed back by another month, my motivation gets murkier.

Anyway, about that giant ring of straw. It's called a 茅の輪 (chi no wa) and is used in purification rituals. Not sure if I stopped by at the right time (from some quick searching it tends to be in the middle of the year and the end of the year) or if happens to be a permanent fixture at this shrine. Directions for its usage are conveniently included.

One final remark: I particularly enjoyed coming up to this torii enclosed by woods at the end of a market street. Surrounded by concrete and commerce, it felt mysterious, shadowy, and sacred.

The entrance to Itabashi Tenso shrine
It feels like you might be spirited away to somewhere else entirely.

Published Jul 23, 2020

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