Charms and Amulets

Health & happiness

Directional protection & good fortune

Travel safety

Home & building safety、Relocation & construction safety

What is directional protection?

Jonangu is revered as a shrine that gives directional protection. In the late Heian Period, the Imperial families and the aristocracy had the custom of not travelling directly to their destination if it was in an inauspicious direction. Instead, they travelled in an auspicious direction to a transit point and stayed overnight. From there, they could depart the next morning in an auspicious direction for their desired destination. This practice, calledkatatagae(or changing directions) was thought to prevent calamity from certain directions, and many chose the Jonan Rikyu villa for their overnight stay. Also popular at the time was the Kumano Pilgrimage* to three shrines located 300km south of Kyoto. So Jonan Rikyu became the departure point for the pilgrimage where the retired emperors, empresses, and aristocracy purified their bodies and minds, and prayed for safety on their journey. More than 900 years later, this belief survives today as evidence of the continuing belief in the prevention of calamity caused by the directions and travel safety.

* The Kumano Pilgrimage visited the main three shrines in the mountainous Kumano region in the south of the Kii Peninsula. The Kumano Kodo ancient pilgrimage route, which the pilgrims walked, is UNESCO-listed – as is Spain’s Santiago de Compostela.

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