The Tsubaki Grand Shrine is one of Japan’s oldest shrines having celebrated its 2,000 anniversary a few years ago. Florence Caplow’s scholarship residency at the shrine allowed her to experience immersion in the Japanese cultural and religious tradition of Shinto, practiced by almost 80% of the population.
Her travels take her to the Ise Grand Shrine, one of Shinto’s holiest and most important sites; Kyoto, the former Imperial capital of Japan; and Kamakura, a city with a high number of seasonal festivals and Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Along the way we learn about the phenomena of kami that reside in Japan, and the ceremony of purifying and blessing of new cars.
Caplow shares with us how Shinto understandings and deep connections to the natural world inform the Japanese culture, and her own Zen tradition.