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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Kamado matsuri
Oven festival. The main annual festival held on July tenth at Shiogama Jinja, Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture. On that day, in what is called the asamairinogi (morning veneration rite), participants draw sea water at high tide and exchange the water in the sacred kitchen cauldron of the shrine with this new water. In the afternoon, after a large 640 kilogram sacred palanquin has processed through the city, it is transferred to a phoenix-shaped gozabune (ship for the sacred presence). With a ship to drive away tengū (goblins) in the lead and accompanied by ten offertory ships such as the attendant and sacred dance ships, the gozabune sails around Matsushima Bay for nearly five hours, while horseback archery contests are held in the keidai (shrine precincts). This festival is more generally known in recent years as the shiokamaminato matsuri (salt cauldron harbor festival). Tradition says that the sacred kitchen cauldron was used by Shiogama Jinja's saijin (main kami), Shiotsuchiojinokami when he taught the people how to make salt with fire at this bay. Whenever there was a calamity in the province, it is said that the water within the cauldron changed color. Six days prior to the main festival on July fourth, participants perform a rite known as the moshioyaki shinji (seaweed and salt cooking rite).

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