Happy New Year, Anime B&Bers! I spent my first day of the year driving an hour out of town to visit for the first time the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, located in Granite Falls, WA. It is the North American branch of the Mie prefecture Tsubaki O Kami Yashiro Shinto shrine, and sits in a delightful wooded glade next to the river. And despite its somewhat remote location, the car line leading up to the lot was long and attendees stood by directing people to open spots. The organization was surprising and efficient at making what could have felt like a long wait not too annoying.
Walking under the gate and down the path, you’re greeted with a humble gathering of buildings. We first registered for a purification ceremony time, then proceeded to wash our hands before approaching the shrine. I was as excited as a kid at Christmas to toss in my coins and shake the belled rope with my wish at heart.
When you enter the oratory, you are required to remove your shoes, which felt odd outside of my own home. The ceremony itself was longer than I had anticipated and I spent the majority of it inspecting all the different people around me, as well as the hall itself. Afterward, they gave everyone amazake and we purchased a couple of amulets: one for relationships and one for good health. I certainly hope to be successful in both over the course of 2014!
We spent a bit of time afterward wandering the shrine grounds and taking pictures. I look forward to experiencing the many other ceremonies and festivals Seattle has to offer and invite anyone else who lives in the area to come along ^^