Tondoyaki at Torigoe Shrine



2021.01.07 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Following up with my previous post, I will introduce an event appropriate for this New Year season in this post. The event is called Tondoyaki, held at Torigoe Shrine.

First of all, what is Tondoyaki?
In Japan, people believe that on New Year's Day, deities bring fortune with them to our houses and stay during the New Year Week. Tondoyaki is a Japanese tradition of sending off the deities when the New Year Week is over.
To be more specific, Japanese people bring all the sacred rope decorations (small rice straw ropes) that they put inside our homes—to show that it is sacred and prepared to welcome the deities during the New Year—to the temple or shrine and ask the monks or Shinto priests to burn them.
Apart from sacred ropes, they also offer up amulets (small trinkets that provide protection, bought at temples or shrines) that have brought them blessings and have them burnt together.
It is believed that the fire and smoke created when burning these offerings imbue the power of the deities to exorcise and purify the various misfortunes that may occur during the year. Looking at the huge fire blazing in the cold winter landscape is quite a divine experience.

The Tondoyaki is held on slightly different days depending on the region in Japan, and the Torigoe Shrine which upholds the Edo tradition conducts it on the 8th of January. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, they have announced that it will be scaled down this year. If you would like to offer up your sacred rope decorations and amulets, please bring them to the Torigoe Shrine by tomorrow (January 8) morning.

Address: 2-4-1, Torigoe, Taito-ku, Tokyo

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