Denise Stephens visits a shrine dedicated to rugby, in Kyoto
Shimogamo shrine is busy the day I visit. Worshippers are ringing bells and clapping their hands before praying to the kami, or gods, as they have done for centuries. I wander around the extensive grounds which are dotted with small sub-shrines here and there, following a path that leads through the Tadasu-no-mori forest. It's peaceful among the ancient trees, a surviving remnant of the forest that once covered Kyoto, with only a few people walking along the paths.
At a shrine office, there are good luck charms and wooden plaques