Massive Sacred Rope Replaced at Fukuoka Pref. Shrine, Just in Time for the New Year

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A large shimenawa sacred rope is lifted to its hanging position at the worship hall of the Miyajidake Shrine in Fukutsu, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Saturday.

FUKUOKA — The Miyajidake Shrine in Fukutsu, Fukuoka Prefecture, replaced its famous shimenawa sacred rope on Saturday in preparation for the New Year. Worshippers watched the work with cameras and smartphones in hand despite the continuous rain.

About 100 people, including the shrine’s parishioners and priests, brought two ropes made of rice straw grown in the rice paddies on the shine grounds to the front of the worship hall.

Participants twisted the two ropes together to create one large shimenawa sacred rope. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a crane was used to make a sacred rope in order to limit the number of people involved in the process. But this year, almost all of the work was done by hand to create the rope that is 2.6 meters in diameter, 11 meters long and weighing 3 tons. The completed rope was then placed at the worship hall with a help of heavy machinery.

A 25-year-old company worker from the city watched the event with his daughter, born on Jan. 1, in his arms. “Rearing a child is a tough job,” he said. “I want my whole family to be in good health next year too.”