Shinto Car Blessing Ceremony Tokyo
Everyday life in Japan is saturated with ceremony and ritual, so it should be no surprise that buying a new car often involves a ritual too: getting the car blessed by the priest, either Buddhist or Shinto.
Shinto is the ancient folk religion of Japan and as such is almost purely ritualistic as opposed to doctrinal. The rituals are intimately connected with the necessities of life and center around the idea of purification.
Buying a new car - however modern an act that may be - also falls under the spell of Shinto, and having it blessed no doubt harks back to similar ceremonies performed for more ancient forms of transport. Parallels could be drawn with the dedication of a ship that still happens in Western countries, if without the overt religious overtones.
Watch here two new cars undergoing a blessing ceremony by a Shinto priest in the grounds of Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine in Koto ward, Tokyo.