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箭山神幸祭 Yayama-shinkousai Yayama-shinko Festival

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The Yayama-shinko festival is a shrine ritual held in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture. The festival itself is held at Yayama Shrine, which is located on top of Hachimen Mountain. The object of worship is to the left of the shrine and is a gigantic rock monument; and there is also a large pond a kilometer southwest of the shrine.

Yayama Shrine is said to have been founded by a monk named Horen in the 1st year of the Taiho era (701). To the left of the mountain path leading to the shrine there is a kakutoba, which was founded in the Kamakura period to commemorate Horen's opening of the mountain shrine. This kakutoba is designated a tangible cultural treasure by the prefecture.

The chitosegaku traditional dance, which includes elements of powerful Buddhist chant dances performed by children, is performed as a dedication to the shrine during the festival. This dance dates to the 1st year of the Keicho era (1596), when a large-scale drought in the region led to rain-praying dance performances. It is said that these performances brought much rain and an abundant harvest in the following year. The chitosegaku is a thanksgiving dance. 

The Yayama-shinko festival is a traditional ritual held to pray for abundant harvests and family safety.
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