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Ooharai: Unique Purification Practice Around the End of June/大祓い-茅の輪くぐり

This article can be read in about 5 minutes.

It passes almost half of the year.
How is your 2022 so far?

Here in Japan, there is a unique practice called “Ooharai”, which is for purifying our minds of the evil thoughts at the end of the first half of the year and wishing for our happiness in the last half of the year by passing through the circle made of cogon grass.
This circle is called “Chinowa”.
We do this at shrines twice a year, around the end of June and December.

Why do we do this?
Japanese people believe that we provoke misfortune, mishaps, bad vibes and unknown trouble sources without noticing in our daily life.
So, we need to ask Kami or deities to purify our minds and turn these into seeds of happiness.
It is said that this practice has been done for more than 2000 years.

You should not touch the circle because people believe that touching it transfers all the evil thoughts and trouble sources to you. 
After the period was over, the circle is burned by Shinto priests, so that the bad things will be eliminated and never harm us.

How do we do this?
First, you stand in front of the circle.
Second, enter the circle from the center with your left foot after bowing.
Turn around once counterclockwise and return to the original position.
Third, enter it with your right foot after bowing.
Turn around clockwise and return to the original position.
Then, enter it with your left foot again after bowing. 
Turn around once counterclockwise and return to the original position. 
Lastly, pass through the circle after bowing to pray for your wishes at a shrine.

FYI, there are several ways, meaning “local version”, so you may encounter different ones. 
Don’t worry about it because you’ll usually find the signboards with the instructions near the circle.

If you come to Japan around this season, how about trying this unique practice as one of your Japanese experiences?
Does your country have any unique practice around this season?

Comment below!

【Translation for language learners of either English or Japanese】/英語・日本語学習者向け翻訳 えいご ・  にほんごがくしゅうしゃむ  ほんやく






  1. 茅の輪の前に立ちます。
  2. お辞儀をした後に、左足で茅の輪の中央から入り、反時計回りに回って、元の位置に戻ります。
  3. お辞儀をした後に、右足で茅の輪の中央から入り、時計回りに回って、元の位置に戻ります。
  4. お辞儀をした後に、左足で茅の輪の中央から入り、反時計回りに回って、元の位置に戻ります。
  5. お辞儀をした後に、茅の輪をくぐり、神社の参拝に向かいます。





Good day, I am the founder of Aurora Trip Nippon. Also, I am a Certified National Guide, Certified Tour Conductor, Certified General Travel Service Supervisor, as well as a Kimono Consultant.
I love Japan. So, you could ask us anything about Japan.

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