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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Janome shinji
The janome shinji (Snake Eye Ritual) takes place at the Keta Jinja in Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture on April 3. According to tradition, when the enshrined kami (saijin), Ōnamuchinomikoto, subjugated the region he dispatched a large snake that was living in the Ōchi Lagoon, and thus the ritual takes place on the shrine grounds (keidai). The first part of the ritual consists of offering sacred sake (miki) to the eight kami in the yagami no shiki (eight kami ceremony). The priest (shinshoku) then takes a sword and slashes a target with a snake's eye painted on the surface three times, then stabs the target with a spear three times, and finally shoots it three times with an arrow. The target is thought to be a protection against danger and the participants compete to take it from one another. This ritual is also known as the oisumi matsuri, and is one of a series of rituals that occur at Keta Jinja after the kunimuke matsuri, which is a ritual that originally fulfilled the function of announcing the end of the subjugation of a region.

— Mogi Sakae
A scene where a Shinto priest prepares to fire with a bow and arrow at a large paper target in the shape of a giant serpent's eye

Ishikawa Prefecture, 2008

©Ichida Masataka

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