A purification ritual to remove the soot that has built up over the past year in the shrine buildings so that the deity of Atsuta Shrine, Atsuta-no-Ōkami (Amaterasu-Ōmikami as represented by the sacred sword, Kusanagi-no-tsurugi), might welcome a glorious new year refreshed.
In order for Atsuta-no-Ōkami to welcome the new year in a pristine dwelling, devotees perform the ritual cleaning of the interior of the main hall from 6:00 the previous day. From 10:00, attendants bearing 4-meter long imitake (斎竹 / ritual brooms made from green branches) perform the cleaning ritual at the main shrine and other shrines, around 40 in all, throughout the grounds.
From 14:00, following the completion of the cleaning ritual, a ceremony is held at the Main Shrine to inform the deity that preparations for welcoming the new year have been completed.
When: Wed. 25 Dec. (from 10:00)
Where: Atsuta Jingū (熱田神宮) in Atsuta Ward (熱田区)
Access: A 3-minute walk from Jingū-mae Sta. (神宮前駅, NH33) on the Meitetsu Nagoya Line (名鉄名古屋本線); or an 8-minute walk from Atsuta Sta. (熱田駅, CA65) on the JR Tōkaidō Line (JR 東海道線); or a 7-minute walk from Jingu Nishi Sta. (神宮西駅, M27) on the Meijo Subway Line (地下鉄名城線).
Photo courtesy of Atsuta Jingū