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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » State Rites
Ō imi no matsuri
A festival of the ancient and medieval eras conducted at the shrine Hirose Jinja by a court-dispatched ritualist in order to celebrate its kami and the various "mountain-entrance kami" (yamaguchi-gami) of Yamato's six districts. Performed twice annually in the fourth and seventh months to pray for a bountiful harvest and for environmental conditions advantageous to agriculture. The facts that Hirose Jinja was located at the confluence of Yamato basin's rivers, an area of great importance to imperial authority, and that yamaguchi-gami were enshrined at the headwaters of those rivers and at the heads of trails entering the basin's surrounding mountains, probably explain why such a festival was performed at Hirose Jinja. The festival is thought to have originated in the latter half of the seventh century, during Tenmu's reign. The rite appears in the Jingiryō, and in the Engishiki it is described as small in scale, but they stress that the imperial ritualist was to be a prince of at least the fifth rank, showing that the rite was regarded as quite significant. The rite continued well after the ninth century even as other festivals of the ritsuryō system died out, and lasted through the medieval period, finally falling out of practice in the Nanboku era (1336-1393). Unofficial ōimi festivals celebrated around lesser shrines continued, however, and can still be seen in places today.
       The Ōimi no matsuri is also known as the Hirose Ōimi no matsuri, and has deep associations with the celebration fūjin sai conducted on the same day at the shrine Tatsuta-sha (now Tatsuta Taisha), the two being referred to collectively as the Hirose-Tatsuta sai. Based on a statement in the Ryōnogige, some have even argued that both rites were actually conducted at both shrines. The six districts of Yamato' refers to the six administrative regions of ancient Yamato known as Takechi, Katsuragi, Toichi, Shiki, Yamanobe, and Sō.

… Namiki Kazuko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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