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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Hie matsuri
Hiyoshi Festival. A festival held April 12-15 at Hiyoshi Shrine (Hiyoshi taisha) in Sakamoto, Ōtsu Cty, Shiga Pefecture. On March 1, the sacred palanquins (mi-koshi) of Ushio and Sannomiya Shrines are carried to and installed in the shrines' halls on top of Mt. Ushio in the "Ceremony of Raising the Mi-koshi." On April 3, a great Sasaki branch is offered to Shinomiya Tenson Shrine from the main shrine in a ceremony called "Great Sakaki Rite." On April 12, the sacred palanquins of the two shrines are installed in the hall of worship (haiden) of the Eastern Main shrine in a ceremony called "Uma Rite," since originally it occurred on an uma day by the ancient element-zodiac calendar. On the morning of April 13, the four sacred palanquins of the Eastern Main shrine, the Juge Shrine, the Ushio Shrine, and the Sannomiya Shrine are all transported to the sacred lodgings (shukuin) of the associated shrine (sessha) Ubuya Shrine. There are the ceremonies for the offering of tea, the placing of flowers, and the sacred preparations. That night the four mi-koshi that had rested in the lodging are boisterously carried for an extended period by hundreds of naked palanquin-bearers. When the palanquins set out, and after the lion dances (shishi mai) and dengaku music, a number of armored warriors take up the palanquins and throw them down onto the surface of the garden. This is called "Throwing Down on the Eve." The palanquin-bearers promptly take up and carry high the palanquins to the western main shrine . This is called Installing the Palanquins.
       On the afternoon of the 14th, all those below the shrine's Chief Priest (gūji) make katsura offerings at the western main shrine. The great sasaki branch returns from the Ōtsu Shinomiya Tenson Shrine. Scores of armored warriors gather at the western main shrine and receive katsura branches. Then hundreds of people carry seven sacred palanquins, transporting them. The palanquins are taken aboard boats at Yatsuyanagi Shore of Lake Biwa and are transported to Karasaki. There, tribute boats from Awazu approach the boats from the main shrine, making offerings of large ritual batons (heisoku). Food offerings (shinsen) are presented and music performed. This series of rites is called "The Awazu Offerings." When the ceremonies are complete, the food is thrown into the lake. The large ritual batons are returned to the main shrine overland, by sacred horses (shinme). The seven palanquin boats go to the shore at Hietsuji Wakamiya Shrine and then return to the main shrine.
       On the 15th is the ceremony called "The West Rite." People worship in front of the eastern main shrine, the participants wearing small katsura branches in their hats. Azuma-asobi songs (eastern songs) are performed. Afterwards, Azuma-asobi songs are again performed at the halls of the western main shrine. This is called, separately, "kaheri-mōshi."

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