The Ties Binding the Heart of Japan
Ties in Japan:
Symbolizing Various Hopes
Ties through a prayer
The massive Gotobiki-iwa boulder tied with shimenawa, a Shinto straw rope, marks a sacred location
on a precipitous cliff called Amanoiwatate. This is where the local gods are said to have first descended to
Kamikura Shrine (Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine) / Wakayama Prefecture
A mighty shimenawa, made by tying an enormous volume of straw that has been
devotedly grown from rice plants.
Izumo Ooyashiro (Izumo Grand Shrine) / Shimane Prefecture
Tying together relationships
Weddings tie new relationships between groom and bride and their respective families.
The white strings seen on the bride’s bustline are tied with a tight awaji-musubi which cannot unravel easily.
Tying together landscapes
Bamboo nodes are lined up and tied with black ropes with careful consideration paid to the balance and
harmony with the surrounding landscape.
Take-no-Michi (Bamboo Road) / Kyoto Prefecture
Having evolved as decoration from around the 8th century, kumihimo literally meaning “braided strings,” were later used as sturdy cords to support heavy armor weighing several dozen kilograms.