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Individual Shrine Observances


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§ Tokushu shinji

Rites that have a unique history at a shrine among the festivals celebrated at that shrine. Also referred to as time-honored, or traditional, festivals. They are performed according to unique festival liturgies, protocols, and rituals that are different from modern standardized shrine rites.  ...

Agata matsuri

The reisai (main, annual festival) held before and after June fifth (originally, the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar) at Agata Jinja, Uji City, Kyoto prefecture. It begins on the fifth with the offering of a sacred meal to the kami. About 1 AM on the sixth after all lights have b...

Ageuma shinji

Sacred horse rite. On May fourth and fifth at Tado Jinja in Tado-chō, Kuwana-gun, Mie prefecture, there is an ageuma rite in which horses dash up the steep incline alongside the stone stairway in front of the shrine. From among seven township zones, six choose youths about twelve years old as ...

Akutai matsuri

Cursing festival. At the akutai matsuri of Atago Jinja in Iwama-chō, Nishi Ibaragi-gun, Ibaragi prefecture held on December fourteenth (formerly, the fourteenth day of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar), worshippers verbally abuse each other as they proceed to worship at Mt. Atago's mou...

Amasake matsuri

Sweet sake festival. The central activity of the festival at the Umemiya Shrine in Sayama City, Saitama prefecture held on February tenth and eleventh is to invite villagers to the shrine and treat them to sake. It is called the amasake matsuri and divines the year's harvest according to the qualit...

Aofushigaki shinji

A rite that has ritualized the kuniyuzuri myth from the Kiki. It is performed over a period of thirteen days centering on April 7th at Miho Jinja in Mihoseki, Yatsuka-gun, Shimane prefecture. The rite is based on the myth wherein Kotoshironushi built a green brushwood-fenced enclosure in the sea an...

Bakemono matsuri

This costume festival is held on May 24 and 25 at Dazaifu Shrine in Shinmei Town, Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture. Participants conceal their faces with cloth hoods (zukin) or woven hats (amigasa) and form a parade through town, with men dressed as women and women dressed as men. The festival tr...

Batō shin matsuri

A long established major festival held primarily on April 22 at the Taga Shrine (Taga Taisha) in Taga Town, Inukami District, Shiga Prefecture. It is also called the Taga Festival. The ritual is carried out under the leadership of the so-called batōnin, a select member of the local community w...

Bō-chigiri

Distributing Stakes. A ta-asobi (a pantomime of planting and harvesting) rite held on February 13, at Ugan Shrine in Ikeda Town, Imadate County, Fukui Prefecture. Participants wearing old women's and old men's masks act out rice cultivation, inserting trees into kagami-mochi that are about sixty ce...

Busha sai

Sacred Archery Festival or Foot Archery Festival (depending on the Chinese characters used to write the name). An archery rite held on March 17 at Hotaka Shrine (Hotaka jinja) in Hotaka Town, Azumi County, Nagano Prefecture. Three bows strung with hemp are used. Fourteen arrows are used: two with w...

Chan-chan matsuri

Held on April 1, this is the annual high festival (reitaisai) of Ōyamato Jinja in Tenri City, Nara Prefecture. On the day before the festival, those people who are to participate in the togyo (sacred procession) present offerings of taihei (large nusa, ritual purification wands) at the shrine....

Chichibu yomatsuri

Chichibu yomatsuri is the common name for the annual high festival (reitaisai) held at Chichibu Jinja (Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture), on December 12 and 13. This festival is known for its splendidly decorated dashi (floats). From the morning of December 3, members of each district pull around ...

Chimaki matsuri

This festival is held on May 31 at Katatagae Jinja in Sakai City, Ōsaka Prefecture. At this shrine, which is rich in belief in the Yin-Yang divination of directional taboos (katatagae), many people receive rice cakes (chimaki) wrapped in reeds and katatagae talismans and charms (shinpu) in ord...

Chimaki shinji

A festival held at the Hikawa Jinja in Ōmiya City, Saitama Prefecture, on June 5. The ritual consists of offering rice cakes (chimaki) during the Tango no sekku (Boys' Festival). People collect thatch plant leaves from a nearby marsh, arrange them into pieces of equal length, then wrap the ric...

Chinka sai

"Fire Prevention Festival." The chinkasai festival is a monoimi (purificatory abstinence period) ritual held on the evening of July 19 at Mononobe Jinja Shrine in Ōda City, Shimane Prefecture. In the past, this ritual was held in the evening of all days of the horse of the sixth month of the l...

Chōnahajime shinji

The chōnahajime shinji (First Planing of the Year) is held on January 11 at Hinomisaki Jinja in the town of Taisha, Hikawa County, Shinagawa Prefecture. After the ceremony, the miyashō holds a service at the haiden. Offerings of kelp and dried squid are heaped in earthenware vessels and p...

Daitōsai (Nagano)

This festival consists of offerings of freshly harvested grains by the tōnin (leaders) from December 10 to 14 at the Takemizuwake Jinja in Kōshoku City, Nagano Prefecture. There are five numbered tōnin, the third considered the highest rank and thus known as the daitō, which is ...

Daitōsai (Saitama)

The Daitōsai takes place at Hikawa Jinja in Ōmiya City, Saitama Prefecture, on December 10. In the evening, a bonfire is built in the shrine grounds (keidai). Some say that touching the flames helps one to escape danger and calamity and thus, in the past, the festival was called the Ohisa...

Fuigo matsuri

Bellows Festival. A bonfire festival held on November 8 at Fushimi Inari Shrine (Inari Taisha) in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. Bonfire stakes sent by believers throughout the country are burnt. Among master casters and blacksmiths who uphold the Inari faith it is called the Bellows F...

Funa-hiki matsuri

Boat-Pulling Festival. A festival held on March 2 at Kanbe Shrine in Kushigata Town, Naka-Koma County, Yamanashi Prefecture. A rite for the enshrined kami Miwa-myōjin, the festival is a ritualization of events from the invitation and journey of the emanation spirit (kanjō) from the kami o...



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