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Hide-and-Seek in a Shrine: Are you ready?

Hide-and-Seek in a Shrine: Are you ready?

2015.04.25 Bookmark

Who would have guessed that a shrine is a great place to play hide-and-seek? Let's take a look at how children in Japan go about it.

Translated by Moeko Noda

Written by MATCHA

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A game of hide-and-seek starts when you cover your face with both arms and blindfold yourself.

The “it” is the one counting up till ten, saying, “1, 2, 3…” as the other kids hurry to hide nearby, and when the “it” finishes counting, he or she shouts, “Ready?” The children who are hiding then answer, “Ready!” and that’s when the “it” goes off to find them.

The one who is found first becomes the next “it” and starts counting till 10. The challenge is to hold your breath in the “it’s” blind spot, and stay there unfound until the very end of the game.


Japanese children living near shrine sometimes play games like thin in shrine.Because there are many points to hide.


There is a strange feeling when you’re holding your breath and crouching down so that the “it” won’t find you; you want to be found sooner, but at the same time you never want to be found. But in this game, you must never show yourself until the “it” finds you.

“Are you ready?”

The sacred tree that is more than a few years old and the guardian dogs at the entrance of the shrine is watching over the game of hide-and-seek that must have taken place for years and decades again and again in this place.

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