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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rites of the Ise Shrines
Higoto asayū ōmike sai
A celebration at the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) in which sacred food is offered twice daily, in the morning and evening, to Amaterasu Ōmikami and other deities. Also referred to as the regular sacred offering (jōten mike), this celebration corresponds to the daily offering (Onikku) ceremony conducted at ordinary shrines. In response to a dream revelation from Amaterasu Ōmikami during Emperor Yūryaku's reign, Toyouke Ōmikami was moved from Tanba Province to Ise Shrine as the tutelary deity of foodstuffs (miketsu kami). Based on this lineage, kami seats (shinza) for Amaterasu Ōmikami, Toyouke Ōmikami, and a "deity enshrined on a subordinate altar in the same honden" (aidono no kami) are built in the Outer Shrine's Sacred Dining Hall (Mikeden). The Mikeden has an ancient architectural style with "log storehouse" (ita azekura) wall construction and steps carved from a single piece of timber (kizami kizahashi). This structure is also where members of the Watarai priestly clan have traditionally served in such roles as senior priests (negi) reciting the norito or as children who observe votive abstinence and serve in ritual services (monoimi). With the Meiji Restoration, shinza were added to auxiliary sanctuaries (betsugū) and senior priests, junior priests (gonnegi), and shrine administrators (gūshō) began serving inside the Mikeden. Although "Meiji-Period Rules for Ritual Procedures at Jingū" (Jingū Meiji saishiki) did not designate this ceremony as a matsuri, the later "Regulations on Ritual Observances at Jingū" (Jingū saishirei) positioned it as a lesser festival (chūsai) and named it Higotoasayū ōmikesai. Whereas other Ōmike ceremonies take place in front of the main sanctuary (shōden) building, this celebration is unique because the deity is "worshipped at a distance" (yōhai) from inside the Mikeden.

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