I visited Boso-no-Mura (房総のむら) on Jan. 29, where you can learn and experience Chiba's traditional lifestyle and skills. It was the day 15,895 in Tokyo and 84,933 across Japan were newly infected of coronavirus. More holidaymakers were in this open-air museum than I had expected. Many thought that visiting this museum would be safer than any other place to go on the weekend, which I completely agreed.
When I walked through the street lined with reproduced merchants' houses, I felt like I was in a movie set featuring Edo in the 19th century.
Then I enjoyed walking around samurai houses, crossing the bridge over the prefectural road, and got to a farmhouse area. They display different kinds of Tsunatsuri or Tsujikiri, named depending on each district, which are talismans that could drive away the evil spirits and the bad diseases from the villages. The folklore has been passed down for generations.
Here are some photos.
Tsunatsuri from Uchisumi (Tsube) in Kamogawa City (内墨、津部 鴨川市). It is said that in olden days people in Tsube repeatedly suffered from terrible epidemic and one day a monk who was passing by the village preached them to make talismans and hang them on a straw rope. Since then this Tsunatsuri has been handed down from generation to generation.
You see two different kinds of straw sandals, a guard (瓢箪), Tsutokko (ツトッコ) in which
steamed rice was packed, with a hot pepper, and a slip on which a Buddhist sutra was written. Where has it gone? Unfortunately I didn't see it on the straw rope.
Tsujikiri from Kamikoya, Yachiyo City (上高野 八千代市)
Every year on January 28, one person from one household get together to make five dragons with holly branches (ヒイラギの枝) on each of their backs. They place Tsujikiri on the border of the Kamikoya district to shut out the evil spirits.
Tsunatsuri from Kaneda nakajima, in Kisarazu City (金田中島 木更津市)
Every year January 12, people hang tsunatsuri on a rope, wishing to shut out the evil spirits and be prosperous in the area. Each straw talisman has such an important role: The female and the mail dolls at both ends are delivering a message of "Stop". The octopus threatens the evils with its eight legs. The brush sweeps away all the evils. People write wishes for a good harvest and a prosperous village on the tablet. The shrimp flicks away the evils with its tail.
Tsunatsuri from Sekijiri in Futtsu City (関尻 富津市)
On the first rainy day in February every year, one person from one household get together to make a big straw sandal (わら草履). It is said that people wished Yakubyo-gami (疫病神) or a deity of the transmission of epidemics to get away wearing this straw sandal. They place three straw sandals on the borders.
"Kashima Dolls" (かしま人形) from Abeno, in Sodegaura City (阿部の 袖ケ浦市)
When the time comes that farmers get new straws of rice just before the autumn equinox, one person from one household get together to make a pair of straw samurai dolls as large as a human. They have four fingers and toes, which people don't know why.
They place the dolls on the both sides of the upright pillars of Torii or shrine gate at Kasuga Shrine, wishing for a good harvest, the disappearing of bad diseases, and the safety of their family.
This is called "crab shell hanging"(蟹殻掛け) from yoshihama Kyonan machi in Awa Gun (鋸南町吉浜の 安房郡). Fishermen in Awayoshihama put this talisman on the facades of their houses, wishing for driving the evil spirits away. They make the mask of a devil using the giant crab (タカアシガニ) shell. When it was broken, they instantly replace it with a new one.
This is called "Odeihanya" （オデイハンヤ ) from Nishikozasa in Sousa City (西小笹 匝瑳市) , former Yokaichiba City (旧八日市場市).
After they walked around every houses in the town, carrying a sutra box (経箱) with straw ropes in it, they place those straw ropes around the Koshin Zuka (庚申塚) or a roadside stone, wishing for the safety in the neighborhood.
The both Tsujikiri above were from Shimoichiba in Yachiyo City (下市場 八千代市)
I found tsujikiri when I was walking around my neighborhood in 2014. They placed the straw dragon on the border of Shimoichiba, wishing to shut out the bad diseases.
I was very pleased to see wintersweet or robai (蠟梅) blossoms in full bloom near the farmhouse at Kazusa, the middle part of the Boso Peninsula.
For further information, please look at Fumi's blog on the "Village of Boso" , "Boso-no-Mura " posted on June 24, '21.