AP PHOTOS: Shrine in Japan offers solace to those at home

TOKYO (AP) — Shinto shrines, a go-to place for many Japanese to pray for good health and safety, have largely shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. Onoterusaki Shrine in downtown Tokyo was livestreaming prayers on Twitter during a May 1-10 holiday, allowing those stuck at home to join rituals. The shrine also accepted worshippers’ messages, which were printed on a virtual wooden tablet and offered to Shinto gods to keep away evil spirits and the epidemic. It’s a form of animism that believes in sacred spirits residing in living things and nature, including wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility. Revered as the most sacred is Ise Shrine in central Japan that venerates the sun goddess Amaterasu, the mythological ancestor of the emperor. Naomi Shiba tweeted six prayers at the online shrine, in the hopes of an early end to the pandemic, for her two sons to be able to resume their work and studies, and for herself to lose some weight.