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Individual Shrine Observances


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Toshishiba no shinji

This ritual is held on January 6 at Sunami Jinja in Sakutō Town, Aida County, Okayama Prefecture. The priest encloses rice and beans in packets of twisted Japanese paper (washi) and attaches these packets to sakaki branches. Then he takes these branches and bundles them into groups of three, o...

Tsuina sai

There are many shrines which traditionally hold a "festival to drive away evil spirits" (tsuina sai) before or after setsubun. A bean pounding ceremony is held on January 7 at Sumiyoshi Jinja in Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. On the evening of that day, the tsuina (demon exorcism) takes pl...

Tsuina shiki

This is a setsubun event held in February at Nagata Shrine in Nagata Ward, Kobe City, Hyōgo Province. Decorative flowers (kazaribana) hang from several large willow branches strung with small rice cakes (mochi) and mandarin oranges on the pillars to the right and left of the haiden. On a cutti...

Tsukiyama shinji

This spring festival is held on April 23 at Nijō no Imizu Jinja in Takaoka City, Tōyama Prefecture. Participants build an artificial hill (tsukiyama) that serves as a "fixed stage" (sueokigata no butai) within the keidai (shrine precincts). Figurines of the Four Deva Kings (heavenly prote...

Tsutsukohiki matsuri

This festival praying for a bountiful harvest is held on the twenty-fifth day of the first month of the lunar calendar at Itsukushima Jinja in Hobara Town, Date County, Fukushima Prefecture. After a ceremony, that year's yakudoshi (inauspicious age) males and several dozen naked young men compete i...

U matsuri

U matsuriCormorant festival. A festival in which cormorant is presented to the kami of Keta Jinja in Hakui City, Ishikawa prefecture, on December sixteenth. Live cormorants are caught at a location called Ugai (Cormorant Cliff) on Unoura (Cormorant Bay) Beach in Nanao City. On the sixteenth at thre...

U no matsuri

Rabbit festival. A rite beginning with the first day of the rabbit in March and lasting to the next day of the rabbit thirteen days later at Aso Jinja in Ichinomiya-chō, Aso-gun, Kumamoto prefecture. Late on the eve of the first day of the rabbit, the spirit of the kami is transferred to a shi...

Urate shinji

A rite resembling sumō wrestling that is observed on September twenty-fourth at Tamanoya Jinja in Bōfu City, Yamaguchi prefecture. Urate were the equivalent of today's sekiwaki (or sekiwake, second level from the top in today's sumō rankings). Two referees, naked except for loincloth...

Ushi matsuri

Cow festival. A rite held on the first day of the cow in January at the shrine Dazaifutenmangū in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka prefecture. The origins of this rite are connected to Sugawara no Michizane, the enshrined kami (saijin) of the shrine. When he was demoted to provisional governor-general of...

Usokae shinji

Bullfinch-exchanging rite. A rite held during the night of January seventh at the shrine Dazaifutenmangū in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka prefecture. Bullfinches (uso) made of wood are used as charms against fire. People take their bullfinches that are covered with the preceding year's grime to the Te...

Uzue shinji

Rabbit-staff rite. A rite held on January fifteenth at Itakiso Jinja in Wakayama City, Wakayama prefecture. Thirteen sticks of cut bamboo are inserted into cooked rice gruel. The richness or meagerness of the year's crops is divined by how the bamboo enters the gruel. This rite has continued from l...

Wakamizu Matsuri

This is the rite (shinji) of the first drawing of water, taking place on New Year's Day at Hyūgadai Shrine in Yamashina-ku, Kyoto. There is a rite of drawing the wakamizu from the Asahi spring within the precincts (keidai) of the shrine which begins at three a.m. The water is provided to worsh...

Warai Matsuri

This festival takes place on October 10 at Niu Shrine in Kawabe Town, Hidaka County, Wakayama Prefecture. This is an unusual festival. A parade headed by someone bearing offerings and followed by a long-nosed goblin (tengu), a demon (oni) and people doing sasaramai and lion dances (shishimai), all ...

Warajihiki Matsuri

This festival takes place on the day of Monkey towards the end of September at Namikiri Shrine (Daiō Town, Shima County, Mie Prefecture), to pray for an abundant fish catch. In this ritual, a 3-meter-long straw sandal (waraji) is dragged around the town and then dumped in the sea along with ov...

Wareitaisai

This taisai takes place on the July 23 and 24. (originally the sixth month) at Warei Jinja, Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture. This shrine enshrines the chief retainer, Yanbe Kimiyori, who saved the domain's residents and was killed by the lord of the feudal domain during the early Edo period. The fes...

Wasabi Matsuri

This festival is held at Kumano Shrine (Miyama Town, Kitakuwada County, Kyoto) on the fifteenth day of the third month of the old calendar. It is called the Wasabi Matsuri because the person in charge of the festival (tōya) presents an offering of sake and green horseradish (wasabi). There is ...

Yabusame shinji

This rite takes place on September 16 at Tsurugaoka Hachimangū in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture. In the afternoon, horseback archery (yabusame) take place at the horse riding area inside the shrine precinct (keidaibaba). Three archers dressed in the hunting clothes from the Kamakura perio...

Yamato bashiri

This rite takes place on November 27 at Usobuki Hachiman Shrine in Buzen City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Before dawn, one of deputy leaders (jikanza) of the group in charge of festivals (miyaza) performs ablutions (misogi) and draws water from the sea (shiokumi) at the Yahiro beach2. After he returns to ...

Yatagarasu shinji

This rite takes place in the evening of January 7 at the main shrine (honmiya ) of Kumano Taisha in Hongū Town, Higashimuro County, Wakayama Prefecture. On that night, the treasure seal (hōin) is stamped on the amulets (shinpu) of Goō of Kumano. Also called Hōin shinji. The h...

Yaya matsuri

This rite takes place on January 15 at Hachiman Shrine in Amarume Town, Higashitagawa County, Yamagata Prefecture. Naked children, aged from five to fourteen and wearing straw raincoats called kendai wrapped around their hips, a straw crown on their head, and with candles in both hands carry out "a...



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