NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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海を渡る祭礼 Umi-wo-wataru-reisai Sea Crossing Festival

Jp En

Sea Crossing Festival is held on the last weekend of July at Aoshima Shrine on Aoshima Island (Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture), a small island with a circumference of 1.5 km.

In the festival, the enshrined deities of Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, Toyotamahime no Mikoto and to Shiotsutsu no Ookami are placed on a portable shrine and brought to the legendary palace in the sea. Young men aged from 22 to 23 rush into the sea, trying to take the portable shrines off the boats and carry them back to the land.

On the first day of the festival, the parade drops in at 15 places on the island first, then the portable shrine is placed on a boat called Goza-bune and it cruises around the island accompanied by many fishing boats decked with Tairyo-bata flags that traditionally indicate a big catch, and the portable shrine is finally brought back to the island to be placed at Tenmangu Shrine during the night.

On the second day, after dropping in at 11 places on the island, the young men again start to shake the portable shrine violently and make attacks on the carriers. After the rampage and rest are repeated for some hours, the portable shrine returns to Aoshima Shrine at last. This is a highly spirited and energetic festival, the origin of which is too old to be identified.
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白兎神社 Hakuto-jinja Hakuto Shrine

Jp En

Hakuto (White Rabbit) Shrine in Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture is a small shrine pertaining to the legend of the White Rabbit in Inaba. The legend has it that once upon a time, a rabbit, who was washed away to the sea by a flood, wished to go back to his hometown, Inaba. He deceived the sharks playing in the sea and almost succeeded in going back home, when he made a slip of the tongue and got all of his fur plucked out by the angry shark. When he was crying, Okuninushi no Mikoto passed by and told him how to cure his wounds. The enshrined deity at this shrine is this white rabbit, or Toyotamahime no Mikoto. The pond in the precinct is believed to be where the rabbit rinsed the seawater away from his body according to Okuninushi‘s advice.

The foundation time of the shrine is unknown but the present shrine building was built in 1896. Covered with the evergreen virgin forest of shii-trees, tabu-trees and ivy trees, the precinct has a mysterious atmosphere. The forest is a nationally designated Natural Monument as the primary forest where the plant life in the coastal area along the Sea of Japan has been well preserved.
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音無神社 Otonashi-jinjya Otonashi Shrine

Jp En

Otonashi Shrine located in Otonashi, Ito City, Shizuoka Pref. is a historic shrine known for its power to bring safe delivery. The enshrined deity is Toyotamahime no Mikoto. The shrine is in the wood called “Otonashi no Mori,” where huge trees such as the city’s natural treasure, tabu-no-ki (Machilus thunbergii) and Shii-no-ki (Castanopsis cuspidataI) densely grow. It is said that Minamoto no Yoritomo and Princess Yae had a date in this precinct, which is darkish even during the day. The attached shrine to enshrine the couple and their son, Sentsurumaru, is built in the precinct. The shrine is famous for “Shiritsumi Festival.” This unique festival is held on November 10 every year. As the ceremony is carried out in the darkness with all the lights turned off, the participants, being forbidden to speak a word, have to pinch the next person’s hip as a sign of passing the holy sake. In front of the main hall, oranges are handed to the visitors. If you get and eat an orange with seeds in it, you will be blessed with children.
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