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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Yatagarasu shinji
This rite takes place in the evening of January 7 at the main shrine (honmiya ) of Kumano Taisha in Hongū Town, Higashimuro County, Wakayama Prefecture. On that night, the treasure seal (hōin) is stamped on the amulets (shinpu) of Goō of Kumano. Also called Hōin shinji. The hōin is made from the trunk of the pine tree that was used for the New Year's decorations. After reciting a prayer (norito), a paper printed with the pattern of crows with a wingspan of eight spans (yatakarasu) is offered at the altar (shinzen). After being purified by fire, the hōin is stamped three times on the pillar on the left side of the shinzen. The hōin is then offered to the chief priest (gūji) and he stamps it onto some Japanese paper (washi) three times. The other Shinto priests (shinshoku) also stamp on shinpu. Afterwards each clan (ujiko) representative receives the paper that was stamped with the hōin. It is believed that this rite is based on the tale that, at the time of Emperor Jinmu's Eastern expedition, a large eight-span crow guided him to victory.

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