Shide (Shinto)

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A Shinto shrine with shide made out of unprocessed hemp fibre.
Types of shide

Shide (紙垂, 四手) are zigzag-shaped paper streamers, often seen attached to shimenawa or tamagushi to demarcate holy spaces, and used in Shinto rituals in Japan.[1][2] They are usually found adorning doorways, shrine buildings, and kamidana.

The origins of shide are traced to the yūshide, a thread made from the bark of Broussonetia x kazinoki mentioned in the Kojiki. There are different styles of folding shide. One method requires placing the paper zigzags in a cut slit on a stick, creating a ritual object known as a gohei or heihaku.[3] A gohei is an offering to kami that can be seen on kamidana altars and inside the main building of a Shinto shrine.[4]

A common purification ritual uses a haraegushi, a wooden stick with linen or paper shide attached at the top.[5] A Shinto priest waves the haraigushi over a person, item, or newly bought property, such as a building or a car. The wand is waved at a slow and rhythmic pace, but with a little force so that the shide strips make a rustling noise on each pass of the wand. For new properties, a similar ritual known as jichiin sai (lit. "calming the land") is performed with a haraigushi within an enclosed part of the land (enclosed by shimenawa).


  1. ^ "Shimenawa: Basic Terms of Shinto". 國學院大學デジタルミュージアム (in Japanese).
  2. ^ "Q10 紙垂(しで)の意味と種類を教えて下さい。 - 北海道神社庁のホームページ". (in Japanese).
  3. ^ "Heihaku,Go-hei: Basic Terms of Shinto". 國學院大學デジタルミュージアム (in Japanese).
  4. ^ "御幣のまつりかた | 青森港守護神 諏訪神社". (in Japanese).
  5. ^ "Haraigushi: Basic Terms of Shinto". 國學院大學デジタルミュージアム (in Japanese).

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