Shime-nawa making workshop, smiles and laughter echo in harmony (Nukura, a straw craft group in Hokuryu Town)

Monday, December 19, 2022

On December 18 (Sun.), a snowy day, a straw craft workshop "Shime-nawa (sacred rope) making workshop" was held at COCOWA, a commercial revitalization facility in Hokuryu Town, hosted by a straw craft group "Nakura" (Representative: Katsura Tanimoto).

About 30 people from Hokuryu Town, Fukagawa City, Imoseguro Town, Numata Town, and other neighboring municipalities participated. Everyone of all ages, from children to adults, enjoyed the straw-making experience in a friendly atmosphere.

At COCOWA, a commercial revitalization facility in Hokuryu Town

Hands-on experience of making a shimenawa rope using rice straw

Shimenawa, a sacred New Year's decoration, is used to welcome the New Year's gods.

While hemp is used for shimenawa at Ise Jingu Shrine and Makomo, a member of the rice family, is used at Izumo Taisha Shrine, Hokuryu-cho uses rice straw for shimenawa.

Shime-nawa making workshop

Rice straw from Hokuryu Town, material for lovely wreaths

This is an experience of making "shimenawa (sacred straw rope)" and "oshogatsu (New Year's decoration) wreaths" using straw from local farmers in Hokuryu Town.

Using local rice straw from Hokuryu Town!

Cute materials for New Year's decoration wreaths

The materials used for the decoration for Leeds include rice straw, ears of rice, sprigs of fir, pine cones (dried and colored after boiling), pine needles, mizuhiki, Japanese ribbons, senryo, cotton flowers, shishito (red pepper), dried flowers, and many other types of materials! You can freely select your favorite decoration!

Pine cones, green peppers...
Pine needles, dried flowers.
Japanese ribbon, Japanese fan decoration, colored mizuhiki.

Making shimenawa (sacred straw ropes) and wreaths for New Year's decorations

Divided into two groups, the shimenawa making was conducted by Kunimi Abe and the New Year decoration leasing was conducted under the careful guidance of Kaori Asano, in two parts from 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively.

Shime-nawa making group, Instructor: Kunimitsu Abe

The shimenawa is a sacred ornament used to welcome the gods, so before starting the ceremony, we join our hands together and straighten our posture.

At first, the straw is twisted by rubbing it with both hands. The straw is twisted while rotating to the right, and then twisted in a leftward motion while crossing the twisted strings," says Abe.

Shime-nawa Making Group

Principle of unraveling" due to the twisting of the rope

First, check the "unraveling principle" of twisted shimenawa ropes with a towel. When each rope that has been rotated right is combined with a left rotation, the combined ropes do not collapse due to the repulsive action of the reverse rotation.

First, you can feel it with a towel!

While holding it between your legs.

Twist the straw between your legs while rubbing it with both hands.

Rub the straw between your feet, rubbing it with both hands.

Repeatedly twisted and twisted

The ropes are twisted and twisted repeatedly, and then braided together.

Repetition of twisting and twisting

A shimenawa is attached to a paper rope.

The paper hanging, meaning "sacred" or "clean," is attached to the shimenawa to represent a "sacred place."

A shimenawa is attached to a paper rope.

Leeds Production Group, Instructor: Ms. Kaori Asano

First, the straw is moistened by spraying it with water. Each bundle of straw is then tightened up by right-angling and leaning on it.

The third twisted strand is nestled into the spiral of the mesh of the main rope, and then fitted and woven (naku). When the twine is finished, it is tightened with string, and the two ends are joined together to form a loop.

You can choose whatever you like and glue it on with wire or a glue gun," explained Mr. Asano, carefully instructing the participants.

Leeds Production Group

The straw bundle is divided into three parts and twisted.

Divide the bundle into three parts and twist
Twist and twist...

The rope is made to nestle in the spiral of the mesh of the main rope.

Let it nestle in the spiral of the mesh of the main rope.

The ends of the rolls are joined together to form a loop.

The ends of the rolls are joined together to form a loop.

Cut the overhanging straw ends and prepare the entire piece.

Cut the overhanging straw ends!

Choose your favorite decoration.

Choose your favorite decoration!

With a variety of decorations.

A variety of decorations are wonderfully set up!

While gluing with a glue gun.

Glued with a glue gun!

Decorate with various decorations such as ears of rice and colored mizuhiki.

Tie it tight!

Put on a lot of nice decorations....

Lots of nice decorations!
A beautiful wreath is completed!

Comments from participants

  • It was my first experience and it was a lot of fun!
  • It was a valuable experience to touch straw.
  • It's surprisingly difficult to decorate a wreath, but it's fun to choose decorations!
  • It was good to understand the direction and meaning of weaving shimenawa.

Commemorative photo with works

Everyone was full of smiles, holding up their wonderful finished products and posing high!

Everyone was full of smiles, holding up their wonderful finished products and posing high!
Sacred shimenawa (sacred straw rope) & wreaths made from local rice straw!

With boundless love, gratitude and prayers, adults and children alike share the joy and excitement of making shimenawa ropes and wreaths together in the workshop "Making Shime-nawa & Wreaths". 

With gratitude for the wonderful shimenawa & wreath making experience!
Praying to the rice straw in which the god resides!

Youtube Video

More Photos

Related Articles and Websites

Hokuryu Town Portal

Monday, November 28, 2022 Next month, on Sunday, December 18, at the Hokuryu-cho commercial revitalization facility "Cocowa," the straw craft group "Na...


◇ Photography and Editing: Noboru Terauchi Reporting and Writing: Ikuko Terauchi

straw craft8 most recent articles