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Pass through the cogon grass ring and purify yourself



2021.06.24 (Thu)

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

Every year on June 30, a number of shrines in Taito City hold a ‘Chino-wa-kuguri’ ("passing through a cogon grass ring") event. On the last day of June, people go through this ring three times (clockwise, then counterclockwise, and then clockwise again) in a figure-eight pattern, to purify themselves of internal impurities called ‘kegare,’ and thus escape calamity and receive good fortune. In ancient times, the god ‘Susanoo-no-Mikoto’ gave a spell to a man who had done good deeds, which said that if he made a ring of cogon grass and wrapped it around his waist as a talisman, he could escape from the plague. This story developed into the ‘Chino-wa-kuguri’ event of the present day.

This event is part of the ‘Ōharae’ ritual held twice a year (the end of June and the end of December) at shrines throughout Japan. The purpose of this ritual is to purify oneself by purging one's impurities, sins, and mistakes once every six months, so as to spend one's days with clarity of mind.

Torikoe Shrine in Taito City offers other means of purifying oneself, in addition to the ‘Chino-wa-kuguri’ event. At the Torikoe Shrine, people put their impurities onto a white paper in the shape of a person called ‘katashiro’ before going through the cogon ring as part of the purification ceremony. The next day, July 1st, a festival called ‘Suijō-sai’ is held, in which boats are sent out on the Sumida River to carry away the ‘katashiro’ and ward off evil spirits. The shrine is planning to hold both festivals this year.
(For the latest information on Torikoe Shrine, please visit:

There are other shrines in addition to the Torikoe Shrine in Taito City that hold annual cogon ring events, such as the Asakusa Shrine, Sakaki Shrine, Suga Shrine, Onoterusaki Shrine, and Yasaki-Inari Shrine (please contact each shrine for information on this year's event). Pass under a cogon ring to prepare your mind for the start of the second half of 2021.

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