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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Onbashira matsuri
Sacred pillar festival. Ujiko (parishioners) hold an onbashira matsuri (pillar festival) in the fifth month of the seventh year of the tiger and monkey at Hongū (main shrine) and Zengū (front shrine) of the upper shrine (kamisha) of Suwa Taisha in Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture and at Harumiya (spring shrine) and Akimiya (autumn shrine) of the lower shrine (shimosha) of Suwa Taisha in Shimosuwa Township, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture. Over two months tens of thousands of parishioners haul side by side a total of sixteen fir tree logs that have been cut down in the mountains. It is a festival of raising four sacred logs in the precinct corners of each of the shrines. Two years prior to the festival they follow a process of selecting and cutting into the trees with a mowing sickle.
       The festival on the second day of the horse in December at Nakayama Jinja in Tsuyama City, Okayama Prefecture, in which a large pole with sacred paper streamers is inserted into the hatsuho (first fruits) nozuki offering is called onbashira matsuri. The shrine originally received offerings of the five grains (gokoku: wheat, rice, foxtail millet [awa], chinese millet [kibi] and beans) from throughout the province of Mimasaka (in present-day Okayama Prefecture) and raised pillars in the four corners of the keidai (shrine precincts) which were tied between them with sacred rope. Rites were performed at each location.

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