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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
Ehō
The most auspicious geomantic direction for the given year; the geomantic direction inhabited by Toshitokushin (a.k.a. the ehōgami) in that year. Also referred to as the "auspicious direction" (kippō) or "elder direction" (ehō), it is also sometimes also called the "bright direction" (ake no hō). Paying respects (sankei) at a shrine located in the ehō direction on New Year's Day is called "ehōmōde." This belief became widespread in the Edo period, and during that period, hatsumōde was conducted according to the ehōmōde convention. Because this belief was originally influenced by yin yang and the five phases theory, the direction is determined by that year's position in the eto sixty year calendar (of ten "stems" and twelve "branches"). Among the ten stems, five are designated as "e " (elder) stems—kinoe, hinoe, tsuchinoe, kanoe, and mizunoe—and considered to be yang in nature and as such are deemed to have virtuous power. Stems designated as "to" (younger) stems—kinoto, hinoto, tsuchinoto, kanoto, and mizunoto—and considered yin in nature, are deemed not to have virtuous power. The ehō for a given year is determined as follows: for years with yang stems, the direction is determined by that year's yang stem (each yin-yang pair is associated with specific opposing geomantic directions); and for the years with yin stems, the direction is determined by that year's yang pair (which occurs five years later). For example, kinoe ("elder wood") years are yang and associated with the tiger-rabbit direction (approximately east-northeast), so that direction is the ehō for those years. On the other hand, kinoto ("younger wood") years are yin, and therefore their ehō is designated by the direction of its yang pair (which happens to be kanoe, or "elder fire" year), or the monkey-rooster direction (approximately west-southwest). These directions were especially favored on occasions such as travel, moving, and marriage. The direction opposite from the ehō was known as the fusagari no hō and believed to be inhabited by Taishōgun (one of the eight directional kami or hasshōjin). This direction was filled with calamities and as such was considered taboo. See alsoToshigami, Toshitokujin

— Inoue Nobutaka
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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