Kawagoe Kumano Shrine

Akimode and Yatagarasu Suzu no Wa at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine, Autumn 2022.

The three legged crow lanterns are up! The ring of bells is waiting to be unveiled. And the paper dolls are prepped and waiting to go. This is the scene at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine tonight, in preparation for “Akimode” and “Yatagarasu Suzu no Wa” starting Sunday 18th of September…

Akimode at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine

Akimode is the Autumn season of prayer. The mode is the same as the mode of Hatsumode, which is well known to anyone living in Japan. Hatsumode is the first prayers of the year. Akimode is a lesser known term. The Aki means Autumn. The Akimode period in Kawagoe Kumano Shrine starts this Sunday, September 18th and runs until November 3rd.

Yatagarasu Suzu no Wa

a Ring of Bells at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine

The “three legged crow ring of bells” Yatagarasu Suzu no Wa, much like a ring of chigaya, is currently up for this Autumn occasion. However, you can’t pass through the ring until Sunday. The act of passing through the Yatagarasu Suzu no Wa is a ritual much like Chinowa Kuguri. And like Chinowa Kuguri, the ritual is to ward off bad luck and welcome good passage for Autumn. However, unlike Chinowa Kuguri, you pass through the ring, three times. For chinowa kuguri you pass through a ring of chigaya twice as you walk in the shape of infinity. For Yatagarasu you go through the ring of bells in the shape of infinity, but then pass through the ring again one more time on the left hand side only:

A diagram of how to do Yatagarasu Suzu no wa at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine

The paper dolls are also prepped and ready to go. And the festival lanterns are up:

Lanterns at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine

Lanterns at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine

There is a wall of lanterns on one side of the shrine that are up all year round. On the other side, the Taisho Roman Yume Street side, there are two large lanterns hanging either side of the torii. You will also find a few lanterns on the grounds all year round. However, for festivals only, they string lines of beautiful lanterns with the three legged crow on them:

Strings of lanterns at Kawagoe Kumano Shrine for festival period only

There is so much I want to say about this shrine, really I should have given it a blog post of its own by now! But, unfortunately, today is not the day for that. Hopefully, someday I can write more about the history of this shrine and all it has to offer. Even better still – you’ll get to see it and discover its charms for yourself. But thankfully, there is also a really detailed post in English on Kawagoe Info Net.


Information

Event: Akimode 秋指 and Yatagarasu Suzu no Wa 八咫烏鈴の輪

Location: 川越熊野神社 Kawagoe Kumano Shrine, 17-1 Renjakucho, Kawagoe, Saitama 〒350-0066 . View on Google Maps.

Date: the season of “akimode” is from Sunday September 18th to Culture Day, November 3rd 2022. The main date is September 18th when there will be various services and also Kagura and traditional music. On October 15th and 16th they have a special event for good luck, that costs 995 yen per person. Kawagoe Kumano Shrine is famous for several different things, one of which is warding off bad luck. This type of fortune bringing event is very popular at the shrine.

Time: the precincts are open 24 hours, but the shrine’s offices close at 5 pm.

Access

The closest station is Hon-Kawagoe station which is only a few minutes walk away. Kawagoe-shi station is about a ten minute walk away. And Kawagoe station is about a 15 minute walk from the shrine. If you are coming on foot from Kawagoe station you come in from Taisho Roman Street, the side that has torii. From the other two stations the closest entrance is the back entrance, where there are no torii, but you can see the wall of lanterns.

There is no parking at the shrine. There is a large, but expensive, car park at the top of Taisho Roman Yume Street. You can also find several smaller coin parking lots in the area.

Official website

Don’t Miss

Hatago Coedoya Hotel is next door to Kawagoe Kumano Shrine. During the day you can even access the hotel from a side entrance. However, the side entrance is locked at night, from 5 pm. On the first floor of the hotel there is a very popular food court “Lover’s Alley” where there are six trendy gourmet restaurants, including the famous Mrs Hamburger. Also, not to miss if you are visiting on the third Saturday or Sunday of October: the incredible Kawagoe Festival – one of the largest Autumn Festivals in all of Japan.

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