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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Yayoi Matsuri
This annual festival (reisai) takes place on April 16 and 17 at Futarasan Shrine in Nikkō City, Tochigi Prefecture. Previously, this used to be the third month (yayoi) festival. (In the old calendar, the third month was called yayoi.) The festival period begins on the thirteenth of the month. The portable shrine (mikoshi) of Takio Shrine, which had left the shrine on the fourteenth, arrives at the place Takamanohara, in the precinct (keidai) of Honsha Futarasan Shrine in on the sixteenth. At this time, the mikoshi of the main shrine (honsha), the branch shrine (betsugū), and the original shrine (hongū) welcome the Takio mikoshi, and sacred sake (miki) is offered to the three mikoshi. This is called sake greeting rite (sake mukae shinji) or the Takamagahara rite. On the morning of the seventeenth, there is a ceremony at the hongū. Offerings of hand dancing (teodori), a kyōgen play and eight Shrine virgins dance (yaotomemai) are performed in the precincts (keidai). Flower decorated carts and floats (dashi), decorated with imitation cherry blossoms from each town, are pulled in a parade throughout the city and then enter the hongū shrine. In the evening, led by the various flower carts and dashi from each town, the three mikoshi of the three Nikkō avatars (gongen) start on their parade (togyo). After they lie at the hongū shrine for a while, they return to Honsha Futarasan Jinja.

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