Action needed! Save the sacred trees of Shimogamo


An ancient, sacred grove of trees by the Shimogamo Shrine in Japan are being threatened with destruction in order to make way to build luxury apartments – which will help to finance the shrine.

It is unacceptable for a Shinto Shrine, a place designed specifically for reflecting upon the sacredness of the natural world, to be causing such devastation to the surrounding environment.

For more information, please see Green Shinto’s post here.

You can sign a petition to the Shinto priest of the Shimogamo Shrine, the Mayor of Kyoto and JR west real estate & development against this development here.




Filed under Nature & Environment, Shinto / Japanese Religion

6 responses to “Action needed! Save the sacred trees of Shimogamo

  1. That’s very sad. Do you think the shrine is in such need of funds because community participation and support is lessening?

    • That’s probably true, sadly. Urban migration in Japan is putting lots of shrines and temples at risk. Still, I cannot condone destroying sacred trees as a solution to this crisis.

      • I don’t think so either. I can tell you that personally I cringe at the thought of the church selling about 1 1/2 acres of property near where I live if the archdiocese ever gets a bee in their bonnet. It’s home to the most lovely of monasteries dedicated to Our Lady. The walls are so high you feel the presence of a sacred and natural space just passing outside. The bird calls alone are lovely as is the foliage, vines and tall trees that tower over the walls. I imagine that in such a place of retreat we get close to where the original state of our being was meant to be–a garden. I think the word “Paradise” is from the Persian for garden. But anyway the reason I bring this up is that it might be time for Shinto shrines to consider a concept similar to tithing whereby the local community and members pay a percentage or pledge an annual amount towards upkeep of the shrine grounds. In all my readings of The Norito and the Kojiki and The Nihongi I’ve seen examples of provinces and vassals paying tribute to the royal house. There were also festivals of the first fruits where offerings of fruits, seafood and cloth were presented to the Kami at important shrines. It’s not too far off to update that practice and ask it of modern day members.

        I’m not in touch with the Japanese people so I don’t know if it’s a practice but would love to learn more about how they overcome this lack of funds. Another way is for the community to have fundraisers. Such challenges can be used as a way to revitalize membership and draw in new members. The priesthood and shrine associations need to update their approach if needed.

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