Saturday, January 3

Joya no Kane

Priests ring the bell (kane) one of 108 times on New Year's Eve at Chionin Temple in Kyoto.

All across Japan, temple bells are rung 108 times to drive away earthly desires or , clearing a path for a clean soul throughout the year. While at some temples visitors may ring the bell, at Chionin Temple in Kyoto the priests handle all the ringing.

The bell (kane) is rung with a long wooden hammer (like a ram) swung on ropes. As they swing the hammer, the priests repeat a chant. According to the temple's website, they say "Ei hitotsu", referring to the way the bell is struck one hit at a time.

Just back from my New Year's trip to Kyoto, I'm still working on pictures, but I thought I'd throw up this very Japanese New Year video to tide you over. What a thrill to be there!


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