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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
The Sojourn to Hayama. A retreat festival on the fifteenth day to the eighteenth day of the eleventh month of the old lunar calendar, held at Kuronuma Shrine, Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture. According to the legend, a long time ago the nearby hamlet of Kanisawa was being attacked by a giant crab the size of a tatami mat. Seven families went to Kuronuma Shrine and received an oracle (takusen) by which they were able to get rid of the beast. Also, a giant serpent (orochi) in the Abukuma River was dispelled by a takusen from this shrine. This is the origin of the rite. On the fifteenth there is the obeisance and mochi-making and on the sixteenth worshippers visit the small shrines and the stay there to pray. At night there is the yoisa ritual, where naked worshippers who have stayed to pray perform ta-asobi, a pantomime of planting and harvesting rice. At dawn on the eighteenth, they are purified with water, go to Mt. Hayama, and at the mountaintop intone ritual prayers (norito). Then a man termed the noriwara is possessed by a spirit and pronounces oracles predicting the next year's weather, harvest, and possible calamities.

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