Samukawa Shrine IV - Hōi-ban Compass

Samukawa Shrine (寒川神社 [Samukawa-jinja]) is one of only two shrines in Japan that offer the Happoyoke (八方除け) ceremony. According to what I am able to understand, the Kami (神) or "God(s)" or deity or deities of the shrine can offer protection from many forms of bad luck both in the material world and spiritual world that can approach you, your home, your business, your life, your family, etc. from any of the eight principal directions on a compass (four cardinal directions: N, E, S, W; and the four intercardinal directions: NE, SE, SW, NW). So basically, the Happoyoke ceremony conducted here at this shrine is for praying to the guardians of the eight directions as a way to avoid evil, misfortune, and disaster from all directions.

Samukawa shrine has this beautiful hōi-ban (方位盤) compass for happoyoke (guardian dieties providing protection from the 8 directions on the compass) near the main worship hall (拝殿 [haiden]).

Dragon on base of hōi-ban compass.

Close-up view of hōi-ban compass indicating the eight directions from which the deities provide protection.

Dragon claw on the hōi-ban compass.

Dragon head on the hōi-ban compass. 

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