Beginning a new year, many people go to shrine for making wishes. I take Okita shrine for new year worship, just like a year ago being under construction with a new hall of worship, which is now completed the work. This picture shows entrance gate decorated with straw works, and the stone approach, continuing to stone stairs in front of hall of worship. "Shime" means a god's territory in Japanese. And "shime-nawa(rope)" is used to establish a sacrid territory. The straw works on the entrance gate is called shime-nawa.
This is a magnificient cleansing basin, standing by the entrance gate. People wash their hands here, then walk on stone approach to the hall of worship and make wishes.
This shrine is dedicated to a lady named Kita, who was offered to gods as a sacrifice for the hard work of land reclamation, and also to a samurai named Nagatada Tsuda, who was the main person in charge of the land reclamation. Both of them lived in 17th century. Kita is a legendary woman. Many historians say that she was not a real person. This picture shows the pottery statue of Nagatada with shime-nawa straw work on the way to the hall. 4 stripes of white paper tied up to shime-nawa is called "Gohei", which is originally a fabric offered to gods and turn to a paper work afterwards.
Behind the hall of worship, there is a hall for gods of the shrine. This picture shows the old wooden hall for gods that has a traditional shrine structure for about 10 meters high. Golden color object of the right side in this picture is a backside entrance of the hall of worship. This old wooden hall for gods was used to be for Kita, however many other popular gods who bring fortunes and lucks to believers had been invited to the hall and she had become hard to stay here. At last she left the hall and went to a small hut next to the hall.
This is a hut for Kita. I think it's pitiful even if she has no power for fortunes and lucks, and feel that she fell a victim to greed at the second time.
Another shrine, Doutsu-sama sits side by side with Okita shrine. This shrine is dedicated to a kind of snake, called Toubyo. Toubyo is believed to have a yellowish white ring around the neck, bring many fortunes to believers, and likes eggs.
Behind the hall of Doutsu-sama, there is a sanctuary of the shrine. This picture shows the wooden statue of snake offered with eggs in bamboo colander.