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A Day at Harunohi Church – What does a Tenrikyo Church look like?

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I recently stumbled upon a video titled, ハルノヒの一日 (天理教はるのひ分教会) A day at HARUNOHI (also on DailyMotion), which depicts the daily activities of Harunohi Church. Not all churches run the same, nor are always filled with followers like this one, but I think this shows what a traditional Tenrikyo church should be like, where followers come in and out through out the entire day tending to the needs of the church and take part and the morning and evening services, cleaning of the shinden (sanctuary), learning & practicing the teachings, and administering the Sazuke.

While I wanted to show people churches outside of Japan in this series of articles, “What does a Tenrikyo Church Look Like?“, this video would likely be an example of the base model for which churches overseas would follow. Followers coming in and out of the church to help and learn more about the teachings is basically how things should be.

Here are the captions translated for this video:

4:30 a.m.
It is still dark outside.
Good morning.
Is the entrance open?
Good morning.
What’s this? You surprised me.
Good morning.
Good morning.

A Day at Harunohi
Cleaning is done and food offerings are made every single day of the year, all 365 days.

7:00 a.m.
Morning service
Studying the teachings
Everyone eats breakfast together

いってらっしゃい itterasshai (greeting said to people leaving home)

Fumiko makes Haruport, the Young Mother’s Club newsletter

2:00 p.m.
Followers come for sanctuary cleaning
Many people “come home” to the church every day

おかえり okaeri (greeting said to people arriving home)

7:00 p.m.
Evening service
(including Teodori practice, Narimono practice, Scripture-reading, administering the Sazuke)

Every 22nd of the month:
Kaminanagashi (Spreading God’s name; also a form of Sprinkling the fragrance.)

11:00 p.m.
The end of yet another day

The typical church activities

Generally the fundamental themes for church activities are: the Service (tsutome), Hinokishin, saving others through the Sazuke, Sprinkling the Fragrance (nioigake). Seeing this video and its intent to show others the functions of Harunohi Church makes a good opportunity to describe each of these activities which are based on these themes.

  • Daily Morning & Evening Services
  • Otefuri & Narimono Practice
  • Scripture-reading
  • Kaminanagashi & Sprinkling the fragrance
  • Cleaning Hinokishin
  • Newsletter publication

Daily Morning & Evening Services

There is, of course, the daily service, which consists of the seated service portion of the Mikagura-uta which are performed in the morning and evening. The general idea is to have these services at sun rise and sun set, but each church set their own service times usually to adjust to their daily schedules. Some churches stick to the same service times year-round.

Otefuri & Narimono Practice

Right after the seated service is performed, it is very common for it to be followed by the practice of the Otefuri (hand dance) and, though not common, in accompanied with Narimono (musical instrument) practice. The practice usually consists of one or two songs from the Mikagura-uta.


Then following the practice of otefuri and, possibly narimono, everyone would typically read a few pages from “The Life of Oyasama” or “The Doctrine of Tenrikyo,”  16 or so verses from the Ofudesaki, a story or two from “The Anecdotes of Oyasama.” These books would be the basic and the typical parts of the Tenrikyo teachings that are taught and reiterated; however, there is possibility that other related texts might be used instead, such as Reading the Kakisage.

Kaminanagashi & Sprinkling the fragrance

Kaminanagashi, means “spreading God’s name,” which is an activity where Tenrikyo followers either stand or walk while singing songs from the Mikagura-uta. I have personally not heard any followers overseas doing this activity regularly. However, followers overseas do practice nioigake or “sprinkling the fragrance,” which is typically going door-to-door as a form of missionary work handing pamphlets and offering to perform the Sazuke to those who may be ill or injured.

Cleaning Hinokishin

Hinokishin is almost always synonymous with cleaning, probably because of its metaphorical comparison with dust. All churches clean their shrines every morning before the morning service.

Newsletter publication

Not all churches have newsletters, but the ones with enough followers print and distribute newsletters that contain, at least, its monthly sermon. Hopefully, this will change to blogs or other digital media that will not involve any paper or otherwise wasteful use of energy and materials. The newsletters will likely, at least, include its monthly sermon and announcements.


I thought this video really gave a good look at the inside of the church and what Tenrikyo followers do in the inside on a daily basis. I hope we can find more videos online like this that simply show what Tenrikyo followers do.

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