[1/5] Pet owners pray with their pet dogs as they arrive for a Shichi-Go-San blessing, traditionally performed for young children to ask for health and happiness, at Zama Shrine in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, Japan, November 14, 2023.
REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon Acquire Licensing RightsZAMA, Japan, Nov 14 (Reuters) - A traditional ceremony for children is catching on among pet owners in Japan, where dogs and cats are receiving ever more attention amid the nation's plummeting birth rates.
Parents dress their girls and boys in kimonos and bring them to a Shinto holy place for the ceremony.
On Tuesday, numerous pet owners led their charges up the steep steps to reach the Inuneko Jinja, or Dog-Cat Shrine, to pray and receive a blessing from a Shinto priest.
"The number of children is decreasing each year, and as a result, more and more people are pouring their love into their dogs and cats," said Zama Shrine priest Yoshinori Hiraga.
Kim Kyung, Natsuki Aoki, Aoki, Shiba, Yoshinori Hiraga, Masayo Tashiro, Irene Wang, Rocky Swift, Raju Gopalakrishnan
Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan, Hiroshima, kimonos, Jinja, Pomeranian