in the summer, many French tourists stop by his shop on the way to the temple, and that he had many orders from American customers for larger sized getas.
At the top of the hill, lines are long for the various shrines, where coins are tossed into offering boxes, enormous bells on giant colorful ropes are sounded, and prayers are made.
Near the fire god shrine, the largest there, stands a giant dish of incense. Worshippers fan the scented smoke from it into their faces and hair.
Elsewhere sits a bronze Buddhist statue that visitor after visitor touches for good luck.
The line is likewise long for the god of commerce, while fewer seem to seek out the Kanjin-shi shrine to the god of eyes, in the rear part of the complex, where people suffering from eye troubles are said to have been cured by washing their eyes from a nearby spring.
The Gogyushin-do enshrines the deity of protection of oxen, an important farm animal in ancient times.
At the water god shrine, known as Mizukake Kannon, worshippers splash wooden ladles of fountain water up toward a statue of the deity.
People make one wish to this god, which is believed to make this wish come true.
After the prayers have been made and new charms and wooden shrines purchased, shopping bags tucked away and street food enjoyed, the last of the crowded buses heads out of the parking lot at the base of the hill around sunset each day until early February.
In the many modern homes without a dedicated alcove for a Shinto shrine, the small wooden structures — about a foot (a third of a meter) tall — are often carefully placed atop the fridge, alongside candles, incense and sprigs of greenery, where the god of the hearth can help protect the household for another year.
Important ceremonies and enormous cherry trees also attract visitors to the complex during cherry blossom season in the spring, when Buddhist prayer services are held to remember those killed in wars or natural disasters. The shrine and temple complex, with its koi pond, Japanese maples and seasonal festivities, is open to visitors throughout the year.
Visitors fan themselves with scented smoke from incense burned near the fire god shrine at the Kiyoshikojin Seicho-ji temple
complex north of Osaka, Japan. Top right, tai-yaki is a sweet azuki bean-filled pancake in the shape of sea bream fish.