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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
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 riders and the seventh chooses a shinji (divine child). They place strict kessai (purificatory abstinences) upon the youth. On the morning of the fifth, having finished a sake cup ritual and after the divine child welcoming ceremony, the shinji dismounts and the horses dash up the slope. Those horses that begin to slide back down are pulled and pushed up the incline. On those occasions when many horses make it up the slope, it is said that there will be an abundant harvest.
       The teppō matsuri (gun festival) held on February fifteenth at the Hachiman Shrine in Iida, Ogano-chō, Chichibu-gun, Saitama prefecture is also called an ageuma matsuri, at which horses are made to run up a steep slope near the shrine.
       On the first Saturday and Sunday of April an ageuma rite is held at Inabe Jinja of Tōin-chō, Inabe-gun, Mie prefecture. Six youth from six zones wearing helmets and coats that are worn over armor ride up a steep slope. Since the zone of a youth who reaches the top will have an abundant harvest, everyone pushes hard on the rear ends of the horses.

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