NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

2007/7/24

ねんねこ祭 Nen-neko-matsuri Nen-neko Festival

Jp En


Nen-neko Matsuri is a festival held at Konoha Shrine in Kushimoto Town, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture, on the first Sunday in December. The festival is designated as an intangible folklore cultural asset by Wakayama Prefecture.
Konoha Shrine is known to enshrine the deity that protects infants and the festival is based on historical anecdotes of Empress Jinguu who loved and nurtured her son. The religious ritual begins at 6 AM and visitors pray at dawn. It is followed by ceremonies related to nurturing infants and the festival ends with planting rice seeds to pray for a good harvest.
The whole ceremony unfolds at an unhurried pace. It begins with a ritual of bowing towards the sun at the sacred area which is placed on top of a stone alter and enclosed with straw festoon, which invokes an ancient festival.
Following the festival there is a demonstration of shishi-mai (a legendary lion-like creature performs a dance) which is accompanied by a fantastic acrobatic routine by children who dress as Tengu, a long-nosed goblin. The shishi-mai is very unique to the region and attracts a large audience who applaud the enchanting performance and even throw loose change.    
Nen-neko Matsuri is a solemn and tranquil religious ritual.

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address
551 Tahara, Kushimoto-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture 649-4112
name
Nen-neko Festival
phone
0735-72-0645




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