On Saturday, May 19th, 2007, I was able to make Omairi (shrine visit) the Tsubaki Daihongu (Main/Home Shrine). Rev. Barrish of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America very kindly set up a shokai (special formal introduction) for me. Rev. Patricia Ormsby of the Kompira Jinja and her husband, Shinobu, were kind enough to provide transportation.
We were met by Rev. Ochiai who brought us up to the main shrine. Once there we were taken to a small room where we filled out paperwork and had conversation with Rev. Ochiai and, later, Rev. Kawashima. From there were taken to have Oharae done. We went to first one room for for part of the ceremony which was conducted by one Shinto priest whose name I did not get (at first I thought this was Rev. Ochiai but now I think it was someone else) and then another room for the second half of the ceremony that was conducted by Rev. Kawashima. During the second half of the ceremony a Miko (shrine maiden) came out and performed ritual dance for us. I had never seen a miko do the ritual dance before so this was really interesting. Once the ceremony was completed, we were given a tour of shrine grounds. Before we left, were were given a bag within which was sake, tea, ema, ofuda and various other shrine items. I must say that Rev. Kawashima and Rev. Ochiai were very kind to us and very generous with their time.
The pictures below do not do Tsubaki Daihongu justice. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. The great, tall trees that surround the shrine give the place a majestic feel. This may not make sense to those who have not yet experienced a visit to this shrine, but it definitely has a very strong Shinto feel (just as one might expect).
We grateful for all that the hospitality they showed us. I feel very honored by that Rev. Barrish arranged this for us and by the reception and care given to us by Rev. Kawshima and Rev. Ochiai. It is my hope that I will be able to make more visits like this in the future.