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Chinowa - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Imado Shrine, Asakusa, Tokyo

One of the most common customs after the New Year is to buy omamori, small amulets for protection or good luck that can be bought from Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. In fact, the Japanese tradition places a great deal of emphasis on protection against bad luck and the small omamori are not the only artifacts created especially for this purpose.

Other examples are huge rings, over 2-meters-diameter, like the one in this photo, made from braided reeds called chinowa and decorated with shide (the Shinto strips of zigzag paper). These are raised twice a year at the entrance to the shrines and by passing through them, the visitors receive purification and protection against misfortune.

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