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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Inu matsuri
Dog festival. A festival of Sugio Jinja in Umamachi, Tsuruoka City, Yamagata prefecture, believed to have once involved human sacrifice. This festival is a ritualization of an oral tradition about a dog that subdued a badger which had been living in the mountain behind the village. It had been ravaging both wet and dry fields and demanding human sacrifices. Since the tōya system (households that oversee festival preparation and rituals) leads the festival there is a rite of decorating a festival cart or float at each of three tōya households between May first and third. During this period there is an announcement of a young woman of marriageable age as a karinyōbō ("substitute wife"). On the fourth in the inner sanctuary of the shrine, rites for the mountain king and for the arrival of the three households are performed. During the main festival on the fifth a model of a dog is placed in the head carriage of the procession. The "substitute wife," the procession of honored guests, and the shrine maiden dancers all follow. These processions merge below the shrine and then return to it.

— Mogi Sakae
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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