Asakusa Shrine is inviting people to come for Natsumode, a summer visit to the shrine. Another place to visit at the middle of the year is Torikoe Shrine near Kuramae and Asakusabashi station. Both shrines have put up Chinowa rings meant to purify you as you walk through them.
Shinto Shrine visit
First go through the Torii gate at the entrance to the shrine and wash your hands at the basin. Use the wooden cup or ladle and pick up some fresh water with it. Pour it first over your left hand and then over your right hand. Then put the cup in your left hand again and rinse your mouth with a little water. Put the cup back with the handle pointing down. The last water will run down and clean it for the next person.
Chinowa are large rings made of grass erected on the path that leads to the shrine. They are put up on special days of purification (harae) taking away negative things like bad luck. Look for a note that tells you the correct way to step through the Chinowa ring and do the Chinowa-kuguri.
Standing in front of the ring facing the Asakusa Shrine you should step through the ring and walk around it to the left, circling back to where you started. Then step through the ring and walk to the right, again circling back to the starting point. Then step through the Chinowa ring one last time turning to the left. Then walk up to the shrine for a prayer or a wish.
Goshuin are a beautiful way to keep track of visits to temples and shrines. Get a Goshuin-cho, a notebook for Goshuin stamps at the first place you go to. Then take the book with you on your trip and hand it to the priests at each place you visit. For a small fee they will add their Goshuin to your book.
Goshuin literally means vermilion red stamp. The priests put the red seal of the shrine or temple in red ink on a page and with an expert hand add more details, like the name of the place and the date. This information is beautifully written in black ink with a brush. The more places you visit, the more beautiful your collection of entries will get. At special days such as festivals special Goshuin stamps are sometimes used and many people like to go and collect them.
Torikoe Shrine will be using a special color Goshuin stamp of the Chinowa-kuguri ring on June 30 and July 1 this year.
Omikuji fortunes, Ema tablets & Omamori charms
More good luck from the shrine. Pick up an Omikuji, a small paper that will tell you your fortune for the time to come. Take it with you if it is good. If it is bad fold it into a long strip and tie it up at the shrine to leave your bad luck behind. If you would like to make a special wish write it on a votive tablet and hang it up. Ema tablets have different designs and shapes at each shrine and you can write your wish in any language. Omamori are small charms for you to take with you. Some Omamori are for good luck in general and others are for special areas of protection, such as safe travels or good health.
Have a great start into the second half of 2018!