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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Teppō matsuri
This "gun festival" is an annual festival (reisai) held on April 17 at Hozumi Jinja in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The shrine is also called Ryūsō-sama, and has attracted the faith of hunters as the kami of hunting. Especially during war years, Ryūsō became a "faddish deity" (hayarigami) that could provide protection from bullets, and thus drew many worshippers to this shrine. After the completion of worship observances, the ceremonial shooting of targets is performed by gun instead of by bow and arrow.
       On December 15, a teppō matsuri is also held at Hachiman Jinja in Ogano Town, Chichibu County, Saitama Prefecture. From around three o'clock that afternoon, after a procession including two sacred horses (shinme) reaches the shrine and receives a blessing, over one hundred hunters wait on both sides of the horse pathway (ageuma michi) next to the stone steps in the keidai (shrine precincts). Then, just as the sacred horses begin to ascend the steep slope, the waiting hunters all fire blanks into the air in unison. Startled, the horses run up the slope, but must be pulled up over the final precipice with the help of people. The festival is a form of toshi ura ("divination for the year to come").

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