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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
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 been extinguished, young naked men carry a large statue of the deity Bonten (Skt. Brahma-deva), which is the representation of a kami enshrined at Agata. They carry it in procession to its otabisho (temporary enshrinement location) in the heiden (a structure that usually holds the offerings, standing between the main enshrinement and worship halls). This festival is commonly known as kurayami matsuri (festival in the dark). Agata is the shrine of the tutelary kami for the temple Byōdōin. However, as the primary kami of the shrine, Konohanasakuyahime processes to the heiden, the shinyo (sacred palanquin) of the male kami of Uji Jinja processes there as well. Because of this combined ritual activity, there is an interpretation which says that this is a rite of shinkon (divine marriage). Two days later there is a performance of a rite of purification at Uji Jinja using large sacred paper streamers.

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