O-miya mairi (お宮参り) is a performed at a shrine to give thanks for a baby’s first month of life. Depending on the region, a baby will have his or her first shrine visit at around 31 days old (31 days old for boys, 32 days old for girls). However, it is perfectly fine to delay or even celebrate this milestone a few days earlier. After all, you have to consider mom’s condition, the baby’s health, and the weather.
When o-miya mairi is done with in-laws and parents, it is customary for the paternal grandmother to hold the new baby, as the mother is believed to be weak after childbirth. My in-laws were unable to return to Tokyo in March; it was simply my husband and I to celebrate this occasion.
Once again, we headed to Kameido Tenjin, but this time with baby in tow. Babies wear a kimono, and parents wear a suit or business causal clothes. And, of course, no heels for mom! Baby boys wear blue or black kimono. and girls wear pink or red kimono.
Before we went to the shrine, we stopped off at a photo studio for a professional family portrait. Photos studios are pricey. Studio Alice, a popular studio, charges almost 40,000 yen for o-miya mairi photos! However, we used vouchers for a local studio, courtesy of my hospital’s discharge swag.
The photo studio also included free rental of the kimono. We had the option of taking the kimono or other ceremonial dress to Kameido Tenjin. However, we opted not to borrow either.
After a stressful first month with baby, o-miya mairi was a pleasant distraction from the hardships of momming. It had fun doing my makeup, dressing up and taking professional photos. Not to mention that early March still had winter-like temperatures, so it was also an opportunity to wear my fabulous cashmere cape.
The fee for o-miya mairi blessing at Kameido Tenjin is 5,000 yen. These rates are comparable with other shrines such as Suitengu.
I find it so comical. I was told repeatedly not to go outside with baby for at least a month, yet there are several Japanese ceremonies to be done in the first month of life. And each ceremony introduces the baby to many people.
I’m just going outside to walk around the river, but my neighbors consider that dangerous. Yet, all these Japanese customs have me exposing a baby who hasn’t even been immunized yet to all kinds of people and no one bats an eye.
O-Miya Mairi – Taking Baby to a Shrine
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